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Maker(s):Ralph Hall Factory
Culture:English (w. 1822-1849)
Date Made:ca. 1837
Type:Food Service
Materials:ceramic: lead glazed, refined white earthenware (pearlware, china glaze), underglaze cobalt blue color, transfer print
Place Made:United Kingdom; England; Staffordshire; Tunstall; Swan Bank
Accession Number:  HD 69.0442
Credit Line:C. Alice Baker Bequest
Museum Collection:  Historic Deerfield

Two English Staffordshire plates transfer printed in dark, underglaze cobalt blue in the "SHELTER'D PEASANTS" design, which are attributed to the Ralph Hall Factory (w.1822-1849). Originally in partnership with John Hall from about 1802 to 1822, Ralph Hall (d.1838) continued the Swan Bank Pottery mainly producing blue-printed wares for export to America. The pottery also used "Ralph Hall & Son" about 1836 and became "Ralph Hall & Co" in 1841. One of the plates has a printed mark on the bottom of the plate in the form of a leafy branch bearing the title, "SHELTER'D PEASANTS" and the name "R. Hall." "Shelter'd Peasants, The" patterns appears to be adapted from the work of H. Singleton and engraver Anthony Cardon, 1790. But other authors have said that the source is adapted from an original French lithograph, "The Sheltered Peasants," drawn by Leon Noel (1807-1884) and lithographed by Louis-Pierre-Alphonse Bichebois (1801-1850), 1837. Scenes of pastoral life were popular subject matters for printed ceramics in the early 19th century. Dark and heavy blue printing appears to have been preferred by Americans, with very few pieces showing up in the English market. The plates depict a rustic scene showing a young couple, in travelling dress, with a child, huddle together, beneath an ancient oak, as the rain beats down on the river and town in the background. Three sheep nestle nearby. The oak tree, under which they shelter, is broken by age, but new growth is springing up, lush leaves sprout and even a small, incongruous, cask (of water or brandy?) gives promise of nurture, a winding river, and a tall church and other buildings in the background, all within a fruit and flower border. See also a similar set (HD 2007.40.1-.13).

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