Booley - Hanley - (editor's note: read as 'Bodley') Antique China and Fine China Collectibles Query
Hand-painted 'Bodley' (not Booley) Plates c1880 - 1890
Booley - Hanley - (editor's note: read as 'Bodley') Antique China and Fine China Collectibles Query:- We have a set of 12 plates made by Booley-Hanley. They were acquired by our family sometime, we think, in the 1860s. They are salad/dessert/fish course-sized, beautifully hand designed and painted with fishes. Have you heard of this maker?
Reply by Peter (admin)
Hello Dear Visitor
As a layman (non-expert) I can certainly help put the clues together in order to help identify your maker. However, in solving the clues, it brings together a more intangible mystery that may require the help of expert china appraisers!!
The first thing to realize when you look at the pottery mark more closely is that your manufacturer mark does NOT say "Booley", it says "Bodley". Often with these types of printed pottery marks, you get a slight blurring of the print which alters one letter slightly - in this case the "D".
Once you realize it says "Bodley" not "Booley", you then have to establish which "Bodley" firm it is. There were several "Bodley" makers, many of which were interlinked but separate and so the history is quite convoluted and the domain of specialist collectors and appraisers. Bodely appears to be quite a common local Stoke name in Pottery manufacturing.
However, I will do my best. Your pottery mark belongs to that of maker E.J.D. Bodley. Your plates are, in fact true antiques because this firm was declared bankrupt in 1892. They started out in 1875 and prior to that were known as "Bodley and Son"; 1874 - 1875 (not to be confused with E.F. Bodley & Son of Longport).
Other makers with the Bodley surname and, as far as I know, unconnected with your firm of E.J.D. Bodley (apart from possible family ties) were as follows:
Bodley & Harrold (1863 - 1865)
E.F. Bodley & Co (est 1862)
E.F. Bodley & Son (1881 - 1898)
This other Bodley firm started in the 1860's, out of a pot bank called "Scotia Pottery" in Burslem but later moved operations to the "New Bridge Pottery" in Longport. Your firm (E.J.D. Bodley), didn't start until 1875.
Now, this is where the mystery deepens, and your plates become something unusual (and therefore possibly a rarity and possibly of great interest to a specialist collector and therefore possibly of greater value
than the run-of-the-mill Staffordshire pottery). I have the 'authority' encyclopedia on Staffordshire wares by Geoffrey A. Godden. The entry for E.J.D. Bodley clearly identifies your pottery mark, but it is without the "Hanley" tag. Hanley is, of course, one of the 6 main pottery towns of Stoke-on-Trent which include:
Nowhere in the 'Godden' records does it mention a "Hanley" pottery for E.J.D. Bodley. It says they operated in Burslem out of the Hill Pottery initially and then the Crown works, Burslem from 1882.
Now, I don't want to get your hopes up, but if the 'Hanley' works of E.J.D. Bodley is not mentioned in Godden, it means it is rare. E.J.D. Bodley Burslem ware is rare enough as it went out of business in 1892, so imagine how intriguing Hanley ware might be to a keen Bodley collector? The fact that these items are hand-painted and beautiful also puts them out of the ordinary.
Now, last but least in the list of "why is E.J.D Bodley out of the ordinary?" is its association with Moorcroft pottery.
"What?", I hear you say!!
Moorcroft came from a line of of Potters. His father, Thomas, worked for E.J.D Bodley in production and design for many years. Your items may have been touched by the hand of a Moorcroft!! Who knows what influence the work of E.J.D Bodley had on the young William?
I highly recommend you get a specialist valuation done as these items might be of some quite some value to collectors if sold in the right specialist auction (see below for suggestions of where to go).
I checked out eBay for E.J.D. Bodley wares and, at time of writing there was a meat platter for a buy-it-now price of $125 USD. This item was not hand painted and not with a "Hanley" pottery mark, and the seller did not know of the connection with Moorcroft. Imagine the price for one plate with all those features flagged up?! YOU HAVE 12 plates!
You have a very interesting set of plates, and I suggest you think about getting them insured. Thank you for sending in an interesting query.
All the best
p.s. The following page is a 'must see' if you are researching fine china - for value and identification:-Researching the identity and value of antique and vintage fine china