Brown-Westhead Moore & Company Foot Bath, ca. 1873
This was my mother's, and when she passed away I got a few items from her home, and this is one of the things that I really liked. I like the birds, and it's just something I've always admired of hers.
And what have you found out about it?
Well, I've done a little research, and the patent mark on the bottom says that it was made in England in 1873.
First we need to say what it is, and it is a...
I'm assuming it's a foot bath?
Yes, it is. You're exactly right. It is a foot bath. And this large size would be really great for washing your feet. And this was something that was really popular in the 19th century. By the late 19th century, it really went out of style. This is pottery-- late 19th-century creamware. We have birds on both sides here, and they're really quite colorful, with different types of plants. And if we turn it around to the opposite side, we have more birds that are very colorful. It's a combination of transfer and hand painting. Many times we would call something like this "hand-decorated" instead of hand-painted. What there was was a decal or a transfer that was basically in brown tones. It was kind of an outline. And then at the factory, artists would hand-paint each of the colors. They were basically kind of filling in the spaces. So they didn't have to be highly skilled artists, but still ones that could put the colors in. Let's take a look at the marks on the bottom. First of all, there's the mark of the manufacturer, which is up here. And it's colorless impress mark and a little hard to read and to see, but it says, "Brown-Westhead, Moore & Co." And this company was a really large company that made all types of earthenware and pottery, and they exported a large number of things to the United States. So this could have been exported to the United States when it was new, or it could have been sold new in England, but my guess is it was probably sold new in England, because the idea of a foot bath was never really popular in the United States. Now, you talked about the English mark here. You called it a patent mark. Actually, it is a registration mark.
In England, it's called a registration diamond, and by looking closely with a magnifying glass in the corners, you were able to read some letters and numbers, and you are correct. It was registered in 1873. So that we know that it was made about that point or later. And the registration basically prevented another manufacturer from copying this form from this company. Now, this number here at the bottom, which is hand-painted, it's upside-down, but it says "D 4262," and that would be the pattern number assigned by the manufacturer.
That's a very common form of pattern numbers in Great Britain, so if you ever see that on pottery and porcelain, it frequently means that it's English. The people who buy foot baths and who determine the price-- is really, it's part of the decorating, interior design market. And this one has really great design and great colors and that certainly helps the value. My guess is that this piece would sell, a retail price, of between $1,000 and $1,500. So it's a really great piece. I'm a particular fan of foot baths, and I loved seeing this one.
Thank you so much. I have a plant in it, myself.
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