Trenton Aesthetics

Looking at the following photo, you might think that these plates with aesthetic patterns were manufactured by Staffordshire potters.


The cartouche and scroll designs as well as bamboo, birds and flowers all point to the Aesthetic Period in Great Britain during the 1880s.  But surprise!  All three of these plates were made in Trenton, New Jersey.

Trenton had many potteries in the second half of the 19th Century.  The three plates above are samples of pieces produced by Mercer Pottery Co., Burroughs & Mountford Co. and Willets Mfg. Co.


The plate shown above is by Willets Mfg. Co. and the pattern name is Tropics. It is similar to the patterns of Gildea & Walker (Melbourne), W. H. Grindley (Burmah), Brownhills Pottery (Kioto) and Edge Malkin (Tonquin).

The following illustration is taken from Willets letterhead:


And the following article was taken from the 1888 Illustrated New York publication:



The example shown above is the Newport pattern by Burroughs & Mountford. The asymetrical design seems to go right off the edge of the plate.


The above article on Burroughs & Mountford was taken from the 1887 Quarter – Century’s Progress of New Jersey’s Leading Manufacturing Centres.


The plate shown above is by Mercer Pottery Co. Unfortunately, I do not know the name of the pattern. The following article comes from that same 1887 Quarter – Century’s Progress book:


I have located a few other aesthetic type patterns manufactured by Trenton potters as follows:


I always found it curious that while England was known for its beautiful aesthetic pottery, it was the United States that was known for aesthetic designs in silver and silverplate.  It was common for me to pair a Staffordshire plate with American flatware.


But now, at last, I am able to combine American made dinner plates with appropriate American flatware.  Shown above and below is a fork in the Japanese pattern manufactured by Holmes, Booth & Haydens.  The bamboo on the front of the handle works wonderfully with the Mercer plate.


Even the back of the Japanese handle works with the cartouches on this plate!


The picture above shows other aesthetic flatware designs with these plates.  The Mercer plate and some of the aesthetic silverplate shown above are available at my Etsy shop:

This entry was posted in aesthetic, Mercer Pottery New Jersey, Staffordshire, Staffordshire pottery, Trenton NJ, Uncategorized, Willets, Willets Pottery and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Trenton Aesthetics

  1. Ginene Nagel says:

    This is my favorite style of china and flatware. I think the flatware must be more rare as I don’t come across it at auctions. I do love the Aesthetic period. The designs are so balanced and interesting. A carefully chosen set of mix-matched plates would be such a joy to collect.

  2. KerryCan says:

    I love this style, too–and I love the way snippets of multiple designs are put together to look quilt-like. Did you write a post about the influence of this style on crazy quilting? I seem to remember something along those lines . ..

    • queenofsienna says:

      Good memory! Yes, it was a post entitled “Cracked Ice” on my other blog. The premise is the crazing on pottery influenced designs on quilts, flatware and pottery in the late 1880s.

  3. queenofsienna says:

    Reblogged this on Transferware.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s