Staffordshire Transfer Print Platter, ca. 1825
Appraised Value: $400 - $500
IMAGE: 1 of 2
Appraisal Video: (2:37)
Pottery & Porcelain
Senior Vice President & International Specialist Head, European Ceramics and Glass
GUEST: This platter was left to me by my aunt, and it supposedly-- George Washington was served off this when his winter quarters were in Valley Forge. My aunt did the same type of work everyone here does. She was an appraiser for 50 or 60 years. And along the way, she managed to come up with this. And there was some connection between this and the Smithsonian at one time. I think they tried to get it when she ended up getting it. So, I feel lucky.
APPRAISER: And is there any particular background history, any documentation to support the provenals?
APPRAISER: We have this letter from the, uh, lady that used to have the platter and her attorney. And then we have another letter that has just a small mention about it. But this one particular letter tells a little more about it, and, uh, the fact that the gentleman's grandfather owned a tavern in Valley Forge is the reason they think that it's probably authentic.
APPRAISER: Well, the platter is made in what's called the transfer printing process. And this is a process that was developed in the 18th century. It involves having engravings that are then put onto a paper that is then put onto the porcelain. This particular kind of platter was made in Staffordshire, in England. There is a mark on the back of it that helps us identify. That little cartouge there with the word Pomerania in the middle. Pomerania is the name of the pattern. And Pomerania was on the Baltic Sea between where Germany and Poland are now. This platter, identifiable by the cartouge, because there is a particular Staffordshire factory that used that kind of cartouche. It's identifiable as having been made by John Ridgway. John Ridgway, as a Staffordshire manufacturer, specialized in this kind of ware. If you look, the seam would have been put on as a single piece, and the border is put on in sections. And, if you look closely, the top of that scroll flattens out. That is where they would have had to cut the paper because the pattern is a little bit larger than the actual platter. It's a seamline. And the only easily found seamline on the platter, so the proportion really worked quite well. Now, the John Ridgway manufacturer was in business between around 1814 and1830. So, unfortunately, since Washington--
APPRAISER: --was at Valley Forge, um, I think the winter of 1777, '78...
APPRAISER:...it's not possible for him to have eaten off the platter.
APPRAISER: But the platter is not a fake. It is a perfectly authentic Staffordshire large-sized platter from what would have been a fairly extensive dinner service and very much the kind of thing that someone having a tavern would've had. So that's not to say that this gentleman's grandfather didn't have it in the tavern, I just don't think--
APPRAISER: --that he had it at the time that Washington was staying there.
GUEST: All right.
APPRAISER: It's probably worth around $400 or $500. And a full service of it would be very desirable.
APPRAISER: But it's in really good condition because everybody has prized it, and they haven't put the Thanksgiving turkey on it. (laughs)
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