- Museum number
Soup bowl, 'Shanghai' service; earthenware, of square shape with broad, flat rims and angled corners, and a depression on one side continuing into the foot; decorated with a transfer-printed floral motif in yellow, rust and buff with black outlines.
- Production date
1884 (design registered)
1884-1902 (made between)
Width: 22.80 centimetres
- Curator's comments
- In set with 1982,0108.6
Text from J. Rudoe, 'Decorative Arts 1850-1950. A catalogue of the British Museum collection'. 2nd ed. no.104a.
The Old Hall Earthenware Company, formerly Charles Meigh & Son, was founded in 1861; it was known as the Old Hall Porcelain Works Ltd from 1886 and remained in production until 1902. This bowl and plate are from a dinner service with three different patterns designed by Dresser and registered by the Company in 1884. The patterns were called 'Persian', 'Shanghai' and 'Hampden'. For an illustration of all three, see Halen, W., 'Christopher Dresser', Oxford 1990, pl. 107. For examples of 'Shanghai' pattern with clearly legible design registration number 8723 for 1884, see London, Fischer Fine Art, 'Truth, Beauty and Design. Victorian, Edwardian and later Decorative Art', 1986, no. 106; for an example of a 'Persian' pattern plate with registration number 4136 for 1884, see Collins, M., 'Christopher Dresser 1834-1904', exhibition catalogue, London, Camden Arts Centre and Middlesbrough, Dorman Museum, 1979, no. 201. A number of other Old Hall patterns have been attributed to Dresser, but these three patterns appear to be the only ones that occur in conjunction with Dresser's facsimile signature.
The article on Dresser in The Studio of 1899 describes one of these dinner services, 'whereby the simple addition of hollows in the rim of the plate, such as a potter might make with his thumb, receptacles were provided for salt, mustard and the like condiments' (vol. 15, 112).
The pattern name 'Shanghai' is misleading, for the pattern, with its scrolling fleshy leaves, a characteristic Dresser motif, is rather a combination of Persian and medieval sources, as illustrated by Owen Jones in The Grammar of Ornament, pls XLVI, LXIX and LXXI. The 'Shanghai' pattern was also executed in an alternative colour scheme of greens, blues and khaki (information kindly supplied by David Coachworth).
- Not on display
- Acquisition date
- Britain, Europe and Prehistory
- Registration number