an early antique transferware tea bowl
diameter 160mm x height 75mm
manufactured approx 1795
1784, in england, the enormous tax on tea was dramatically reduced, which significantly increased the frequency and enjoyment of tea drinking, which in turn, increased the demand for tea services and pots decorated with traditional chinese decorations. the same year, to meet demand, josiah spode perfected the process of blue underglaze printing on earthenware from hand-engraved copper plates.
early transferware pottery rarely had a makers mark, the use of transfers was so unique, so modern, that the pottery decorated with transfers needed no explanation as to who made it. it was only when transfer designs became more widespread that makers sought to secure a design with a makers mark.
the pattern on the bowl, " boy on a buffalo ", is one of spodes earliest chinoiserie patterns and was engraved by thomas minton. the bowl dates to around 1795 and would have been part of a tea service.
not only is this an early example of a bowl used in the fashionable tea ritual of the day, it has a very old and at the time costly metal staple repair. the repair gives the bowl an even more charming appeal, the bowl has its own personality, the repair gives us an insight into its history and the importance and value the owner held for it.