English delft press-molded, lobed dish decorated in blue with a half-length portrait of Mary II (1662-1694) wearing a crown and flanked with the initials "M R" (Mary Regina), which was a popular decoration for both fancy and simple delftware pieces. Mary II was the eldest daughter of James II (1633-1701), and her Dutch husband, William of Orange (1650-1702), who was also Stadholder of the United Provinces from 1672-1702, was the great-nephew of Charles I. William III and Mary II jointly ascended the throne in 1689 on the invitation of the English parliament after the Bloodless or Glorious Revolution of 1688 resulted in the flight of James II to France; they were the only dual monarchy in British history. Their tenure transformed the rule by the divine right of kings to that of a constitutional monarchy. The English public embraced Mary, whom they considered lovely, but William’s foreign birth, natural reserve, and ill health won him few admirers. Fueling William’s unpopularity was his involvement in foreign wars that increased England’s national debt to £12 million in 1700. who jointly ascended to the throne in 1689 on the invitation of the English Parliament. Many of these plates were produced, most between 1689 and Mary's death in 1694; and some were probably produced as commemorative items until William's death in 1702. These lobed, gadrooned, and fluted ceramic forms, which were modeled after contemporary silver forms, were produced by molds which started to be used in Holland, Germany, and England in the 17th century. They were used for serving dishes and probably were hung on the wall to ornament an interior. Fragments of fluted dishes have been excavated at in London and Brislington potting sites. The Longridge Collection contains a molded dish of the same size with twenty-five flutes. The center-well portrait is surrounded by two wavy, blue bands; the loded rim has a single blue band on the outer edge. The series of tassels and leaves ornamenting the border is a popular late 17th century border pattern which was more commonly paired with images of seated Chinese men.
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