The transferware patterns of the the late 19th Century were many and varied. A good number had an aesthetic theme, including naturalesque landscapes, Japanese motifs, quilted collages, simple rectangle or scrolled cartouches with varied architectural elements. The potters produced a decorative earthenware for those with more limited means as an economical, attractive alternative to hand painted china or porcelain. Not surprisingly, silver plate flatware was also offered in a myriad of patterns as a similar option to sterling silver.
I’m sure much consideration was given to choosing a transferware pattern and the silver plate flatware that would accompany it. For example, the 1882 “Hizen” pattern produced by Brownhills Pottery is very intricate. In the sample below, a quilted collage border surrounds an elongated oval center design with radiating petals filled with various designs also used in the collage band. I chose to complement this pattern with Simpson, Hall, Miller & Co.’s 1868 design “Roman”. This clean, classic design does not conflict with the transfer detail; in fact, the medallion and rounded handle tip complement it beautifully. The “Roman” mustard spoon has been sold but the original listing can be found here at my Etsy shop: http://www.etsy.com/listing/99398619/simpson-hall-miller-silver-plate-mustard
Another Brownhills Pottery pattern is the 1883 “Kioto” with Japanese theme and asymetrical collage. It pairs wonderfully with the Rogers & Bro. 1879 design “Newport” also known as “Chicago”. The angled banding on the handle works well with the angled collage elements. The “Newport / Chicago” master butter knife can be found here at my Etsy shop: http://www.etsy.com/listing/99374457/rogers-bro-silver-plate-master-butter
The 1886 “Rustic” pattern by Burgess & Leigh Hill Pottery is of a naturalesque landscape bordered by a floral and stone wall at the bottom and the trunk and bough of a tree framing the scene. Oxford Silver Plate Co.’s 1908 “Narcissus” design was chosen as an accompaniment. The twisted stems that work their way up the handle and then border the oval upper part of the handle are similar to the tree trunk and branches that contain the scene toward the left and top. The floral elements on the handle also complement the numerous floral designs incorporated into the transfer pattern. I have Oxford Silver Plate “Narcissus” pattern ladle, cold meat fork and master butter knife available at my Etsy shop here: http://www.etsy.com/listing/117237774/oxford-silver-plate-co-silver-plate
This late 1870’s Hope & Carter child’s toy cup and saucer has delightful cartouches with duck and birds. Woven in the background are vines and flowers. The spoon shown with it is Pairpoint’s 1887 design “Essex”. The vines on the handle of the spoon work perfectly with the vines in the transfer pattern. Of note, this spoon is smaller than a demitasse; it measures only 3 and 3/4 inches long and is the perfect size for a child’s playtime size set. There is also a scroll on the handle of the spoon which would be perferct for monogramming initials or engraving the name of the child.
The cup and saucer are here at my Etsy shop: http://www.etsy.com/listing/88911654/antique-brown-transfer-print-childs-toy
The following transferware plate is of note, as it was made in Trenton, NJ whereas all the pottery shown above was made in England. Burroughs & Mountford began in business in Trenton in 1879 and is one of many potters from that area. The pattern is the asymetrical collage “Newport” and was manufactured in the 1880’s. I’ve paired the Rogers & Bro. 1892 “Attica” design with it. Notice how the scalloped edge of the handle coordinates with the scalloped edge of the design next to it.
The “Attica” fork has been sold but the original listing can be found here at my Etsy shop: http://www.etsy.com/listing/104077124/r-b-rogers-and-bro-silver-plate-fork
The “Moss Fibre” pattern shown below is believed to be Royal Worcester, George Grainer, from the late 1800’s; however, I believe this same pattern was a classic and made by others earlier. The fragility of the transfer print marries beautifully with the Simpson, Hall, Miller & Co. 1874 “Silver” design. The shape of the leaves and stems on the plate are complementary to the fine detail on the fork. Even the shape of the end of the handle works beautifully with pattern.
The Simpson, Hall, Miller & Co. “Silver” fork can be found here at my Etsy shop: http://www.etsy.com/listing/73832414/simpson-hall-miller-silver-pattern
The “Moss Fibre” serving set can also be found at my Etsy shop: http://www.etsy.com/listing/75995724/aesthetic-brown-transferware-serving-set
The beautiful big cabbage roses in Wallis Gimsons’ 1884 “Garfield” pattern are almost a perfect match with the roses on Alvin Mfg. Co.’s 1908 “Brides Bouquet”. What more can I say?
The “Garfield” plate can be found here in my shop: http://www.etsy.com/listing/106622833/wallis-gimson-garfield-aesthetic-brown
I’ve two grapefruit / orange spoons in the “Brides Bouquet” pattern, as well as a Cinncinatti souvenir spoon in this same pattern. They can be found here: http://www.etsy.com/listing/105884463/alvin-silver-plate-grapefruit-spoons
And further example of complementary transfer pattern and silver plate flatware are the Willets Pottery “Tropics” pattern with L. Boardman & Son 1900 “Warwick” design. Willets Pottery is another Trenton, New Jersey potter and this wonderful “Tropics” pattern dates to the 1880’s. The asymetrical collage of the transfer print corresponds to an asymetrical collage of sorts on the handle of the spoon. Note also the similar banding detail running through both.
The “Warwick” spoon has been sold (see below for an other Boardman pattern “Breton” now available at my Etsy shop) but the original listing can be viewed at my Etsy shop here: http://www.etsy.com/listing/99388550/l-boardman-son-aesthetic-silver-plate
And here’s the delightful crazy quilt zig zag collage of Wallis Gimson Potteries’ 1885 transfer pattern “Floris Ligna” paired perfectly with L. Boardman & Son’s 1900 “Breton” silverplate pattern. Four of these “Breton” forks are currently for sale at my Etsy shop here: http://www.etsy.com/listing/117361711/l-boardman-son-aesthetic-silver-plate
Of course, one can never go wrong with combining an intricate silverplate pattern with the simplistic beauty of white or off-white ironstone. For example, the intricate aesthetic collage design of the Conn. S. P. Co. flatware shown below works beautifully with the aged and crazed cream color Elsmore & Forster Parisian Granite ironstone bowl. Both items are for sale at my Etsy shop:
And one last consideration…how about considering the color of the transferware and flatware and how they work with each other? In the late 1800’s there was flatware made in a golden hue. One of those examples is the 1894 “Rialto” pattern made by Holmes & Edwards (marked “WaldoHE” – I have a separate blog post on Waldo). In my opinion, gold and blue look great together. I’ve combined a golden “Rialto” pie knife below with a blue transfer plate made by A. F. & Co. in the “Foley” pattern.
I have both the golden “Rialto” pie knife and blue “Foley” plate for sale at my shop here:
Thanks for looking…hope this inspired you!
To search patterns that might be complementary to your transferware, I suggest the following fantastic sites: http://www.sterlingflatwarefashions.com/ and http://www.silverpattern.com/patterns_in_silverplate.htm These two sites, among others, have been very helpful to me.
To see all of the silver and silverplate items listed at my Etsy shop, please click here: