Pottery Mark Query - Bee with extended wings on aesthetic decorated plate
This is the backstamp - Bee with extended wings
I picked my plate up at a local antiques shop, it was in a basket along with other stuff being sold off cheap. It caught my eye immediately.
When I got it home the first thing I did was examine the backstamp, now as you can see, it is only a partial mark. I actually found your site, while googling BEE mark, as someone had a similar query, but his was different (William Lowe Longton).
I know from the style that it is mid Victorian aesthetic period so 1860 - 1880 and the 'B' tells me it was from a Burslem pottery. Unfortunately the makers initials are also only partial but I'm fairly sure it is B & ?. So I tried the potteries.org and trawled through lists for Burslem.
The Hill potteries are said to have used a Bee with extended wings, so I went through those potteries, the only thing close was Burgess & Leigh who were at the Hill potteries from 1867 - 1899 I believe but they used a beehive mark not the BEE.
Now I'm stumped.
I would really like to know more about it.
The plate is 22cm in diameter with sort of fluted rim,so I think it must be a cake plate. It has typical aesthetic decoration, trees, birds etc with two inset pictures, one of which says 'Birthplace of Burns'
I am just intrigued to know which pottery made it.
Oh, I should say this is made of earthenware, wasn't sure whether you would entertain it, as most queries seem to be for porcelain/china.
Fingers crossed :-)
Reply by Peter (admin)
What a great find. We try do cover all types of vintage and antique china, pottery and porcelain here. It's all one big melting pot. Some of our best successes have been with American studio pottery with, in some instances, the actual artist or the family of the artist writing in to identify
the mark (see https://www.figurines-sculpture.com/pottery-mark-query-tree-or-flower-in-box-over-usa.html for example).
Now, onto your query.
You are about to be UNSTUMPED!
This lovely looking mark is that of a Burslem company called FORD & RILEY.
The letters on the mark are the initials and say
F & R
They used this actual bee mark from their establishment in 1882 for 11 years until 1893, so you were right about the time period.
They started out as Whittingham, Ford & Co in 1868
In 1873 they became Whittingham, Ford & Riley, changing to F&R in 1882
In 1938 they became Crownford, and they are mentioned in several different posts on this site. Use the search box to find the posts.
The company continued as late a 1964 and were eventually absorbed into the Churchill company I think. So many makers went under or were bought out during the beginning of this modern age of ours (the Age of Aquarius), or should I say, the final ending of the Victorian age.
Now, in the 21st century, we are becoming increasingly fascinated by the 'old era' which ended in the 1960's. This explains my daughter's love of 'vintage' and this website's fascination with identifying old china.
When I think about it, my late mother was born in the UK in 1920 to people who were thoroughly Victorian in upbringing and attitude. She brought these values with her to the 1960's and I can remember her absolute shock and disgust the first time she saw a lady wearing a trouser suit (c. 1965). My old mum absolutely adored her fine bone china set and her Irish crystal cut glass.
Subsequent generations since then have chucked out the china, but now a new fascination is beginning to return, from the basis of nostalgia and fascination for a bygone era.
This is why you love your aesthetic plate by Ford & Riley (F & R) so much.
Thanks for posting. Hope your curiosity is assuaged.