Medium: Earthenware, tin glazed
Dimensions: 1 × 8 7/8 in. diameter (2.5 × 22.5 cm)
Marks: Three initials, EPR form a triangle above year date 1685, within an elaborate border.
Classification: Decorative Arts, Ceramics
Credit Line: Gift of Ann and Henry Brunnier. In the Ann and Henry Brunnier Collection, Brunnier Art Museum, University Museums, Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa.
Delftware, or tin-enamel ware, originated in Holland during the sixteenth century. It was introduced into England during the late sixteenth century by two potters from Antwerp, Jasper Andries and Jacob Janson, who petitioned Queen Elizabeth for permission to make the new pottery. The technique allowed potters to cover earthenware with a tin-enamel glaze that could then be painted in a desired style. The intent was a ceramic ware that imitated porcelain and could be decorated with the popular motifs of the time. Blue was the first color developed that could withstand the high temperatures of the firings, and subsequently remained the easiest color to control.
This plate, decorated in shades of blue delineated in black, bears the initials EPR referencing the marriage of a couple in 1685. The cartouche formed by griffins flanking a coronet above and scrollwork centering a cherub’s head below was originally depicted on Dutch delftware and later copied by the English.