For quite some time now I’ve had a sweet little child’s cup and saucer in a red aesthetic print design which is marked “Tunis” and “E. S”.
I have seen patterns called “Tunis” made by other potters but the design is not the same as the one on this cup and saucer. And who was “E. S”? I could not readily identify a potter who would have used this mark.
The impressed mark above the pattern name in the photo above appears to read “Ivory”. But that is just a guess on my part.
I do know that New Wharf Pottery did produce this same “Tunis” pattern. And I have also seen that “E. S” mark on another New Wharf Pottery pattern, “The Cotton Plant”. So examples of these two same patterns can be found with the “New Wharf” mark as well as the “E. S” mark. Was there a connection between New Wharf Pottery and that elusive “E. S”?
The New Wharf Pottery ad shown above came from The Pottery Gazette, American and Canadian Edition, January 1st, 1880 (thanks to Steve Birks at thepotteries.org). The lower right corner of this ad shows “Agent, Mr. E. Sherer.” Could this “E. Sherer” be “E. S”? Did New Wharf’s agent have some items marked with his initials?
So who was E. Sherer? It turns out there were two E. Sherers…father and son…both in the English crockery and glass trade. An 1867 issue of the London Gazette identified E. Sherer as a “glass and china dealer”. E. Sherer was Edward Sherer. His son, Edward Joseph Sherer, was born in 1850 (per his obituary which follows). I am assuming the 1867 London Gazette was referring to the father as the son would have only been 17 years old at the time. But, as this obituary states, both father and son were in the same line of business.
It is conceivable that the E. Sherer mentioned in the 1880 New Wharf Pottery ad could have been either father or son. But were either of these the “E. S” I was looking for? I wasn’t convinced, and kept on searching.
And that search took me to another “E. S”… Ebenezer Swann. A notice in the December 8, 1882 issue of The London Gazette (below) states that the “Partnership heretofore subsisting between us the undersigned, Absalom Wood, Thomas Francis Wood, William Wood, and Ebenezer Swann, carrying on business under the style or firm of the New Wharf Pottery Company….was this day dissolved by mutual consent.” E. Swann left and the Woods continued in business as the New Wharf Pottery Company.
The February 16, 1884 issue of “The Furniture Gazette” indicates that Mr. Swann was in business with Mr. Poulson, of Globe Pottery, Tunstall. The October 8, 1886 issue of the London Gazette contains a notice that the partnership between Ebenezer Swann and William Poulson has been dissolved by mutual consent and the business will be carried on by Ebenezer Swann.
This could be our “E. S”. Ebenezer Swann had been a principal at New Wharf Pottery and he continued in the business as an earthenware manufacturer.
The image above shows the “E. S” marks for the Tunis and Cotton Plant patterns. I’ve included another mark in this image, that of “S. &. P.” for the Brooklyn pattern. Could this “S. &. P.” be a Swann and Poulson mark? The banner and font styles (with periods after the initials) is very similar to the “E. S” marks. It appears that Ebenezer Swann was in business by himself between 1882 and 1884 as well as after October 5, 1886. In a book by Richard Henrywood, Ebenezer Swann and E. Swann (at Globe Potteries) are listed in various directories from 1887-1892. So that “E. S” mark could have been used at various time periods.
I have seen the “Brooklyn” pattern mentioned above attributed to Skelson & Plant. Following are notices, listings and a Skelson & Plant ad.
Geoffrey A. Godden in his 1983 book, Staffordshire Porcelain, says this about Skelson & Plant:
1893-1896 W. H. Skelson succeeded Skelson & Plant at the Sutherland Pottery, Longton, where both china and eartherwares were produced. No marked examples have been reported. Skelson & Plant C. 1868-1893 This partnership of the new Market Works, Chancery Lane, Longton, and the Heathcote Road Pottery, Longton, are listed as china manufacturers in Keates & Fords.
I’m guessing that the “E. S” I’m looking for is Ebenezer Swann. But this topic is up for consideration.