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Porcelain Patterns: Asiatic PheasantsAuthor: Brice Garrett
( Article orginally published September 1963 )
The transfer-printed pattern "Asiatic Pheasants" had a long and widespread career in the nineteenth century-from about 1825 to about 1900. It is listed in Laidacker's Anglo-American China, Part II; and Mrs. Kamm in Old China described a pale blue covered dish which she was unable to date. Her drawing does not show the typical pattern since it appears on the bottom of such a dish. The accompanying illustrations of three different examples of this pattern will help the collector to identify unmarked pieces.
Figure 1 shows the earliest example I have yet seen-a 101/4" plate of fine white earthenware, printed underglaze in black. The printed mark consists of flowers with a scroll bearing ASIATIC PHEASANTS, above R. HALL. Ralph Hall operated the Swan Bank Pottery, Tunstall, from 1822 until his death in 1838. The pattern has not been recorded before by this potter, though as a maker of historical blue, Hall has received much attention from collectors for years.
A contemporary maker of the pattern was Podmore, Walker & Co., who operated at different times two different potteries in Tunstall, from 1825 to 1862. A dinner set printed in pale blue has been recorded with their mark. It is possible that Podmore, Walker & Co. made the pattern at Hall's former pottery which they took over in 1849.
Figure 2 shows a 91/z" plate, white earthenware printed underglaze in a very pale blue, marked with flowers and scroll, bearing the pattern name above T.W. & Co., printed. The maker was probably Thomas Wood & Co., Burslem, founded in 1879. Contemporary with this example was the covered dish described by Mrs. Kamm. Her example was marked with the usual flowers and scroll bearing the pattern name, above B & S HANCOCK, printed, though she misread the ampersand as a K, and placed the date as 1860-70. Freeman, in Ironstone China, dated a similar Hancock example in the 1850s. B. & S. Hancock operated the Old Bridge Works, Stoke, from 1876 to 1880, so that Kamm's and Freeman's examples belong in that four-year period.
Figure 3 shows an 11" plate, printed underglaze in flow blue on fine semiporcelain, and marked with flowers and scroll bearing the pattern name, above W. & T. ADAMS, printed. This was the style of the Adams firm of Tunstall from 1864 to 1893. Since the "England" is lacking, this example was probably made in the 1880s.
At an antiques show last year I examined a well-and-tree platter of this pattern printed underglaze in green, with a flamboyant mark bearing the words, "The Original Manufacturers/ of/ Asiatic Pheasants/ Wedgwood & Co." It is doubtful if the company could substantiate that claim, since this firm, about which a great deal of misinformation has been printed, was not founded until after Ralph Hall was dead. The company was still in business in 1954 at the Unicorn Pottery, Tunstall, where it was begun.
"Asiatic Pheasants" has also been recorded by the following makers: James F. Wileman, Foley Potteries, Fenton, from 1867. Mark: J.F.W. John Wardle & Co., Denaby Pottery, Rotherham, Yorkshire, ca. 186570. Mark: John Wardle & Co., with a Staffordshire knot. Robert Cochran & Co., Verreville Pottery, Glasgow, from 1847. Mark: R. C. & Co.
Burgess & Leigh, who have worked varies potteries in Burslem since 1851. Mark: B & L. Keeling & Co., Dale Hall Works, Longport, 1889-ca. 1937. Mark: K & Co.
D & B, a firm as yet unidentified. The pattern has been recorded in black, pink, green, flow blue, and pale blue. The pale blue is most common, and it should be possible to collect enough of it for use, though the likelihood of assembling a complete set by one maker is quite slim.