Blue Willow Printing Plate Origin

Good Morning! Happy Saturday my fellow willow collectors. Today’s topic is researching an item. While at the IWC convention this year in Oklahoma City, I took the collectors back to where it all began! Some artist painfully carving the willow pattern into a heavy piece of copper to design a new willow plate!

The plate above I had no idea who the manufacturer was and quite honestly still don’t but now I have some clues! I met my new friend Len Kling from the Transfer Collectors Club and after the convention he sent me an email that sent me on a wild goose chase…or at least two wild doves!

The printing plate above does have some unusual aspects. If you look closely at the birds, their tails are split and feathered like a fountain. Not all willow patterns have this effect. I can often judge a Japanese piece by their chunky little birds!

There is a mark on the front of the printing plate but as of now it has not turned up in any database that we could find…however on the back of the printing plate there is another pattern that gave us the clue to get as far as we have gotten!

It very much appears someone wanted to ensure the tracking of the back of this printing plate was not easy so the remainder of the mark has been blotted out…but my friend Len..well he did some digging and found exactly who the manufacturer was.

I am guessing someone ran off with a printing plate they were not supposed to have, and this was essentially the end result. This company had its issues. You can find more data at this link:

Below you will see the Windsor pattern above. I am amazed that something from 1849 has survived this long!

I think we without a doubt, know who made the pattern on the back side of this plate. Now, I decided to look in Connie Roger’s Encyclopedia on British Pottery specific to willow but I had no luck, that manufacturer was not mentioned anywhere. I still have yet to find that specific mark!

But….thank God for Ebay! I did find a willow plate by Mellor Venables! The mark is not a match, but the birds have the same fountain design so I take that as being close to a win!

Now the mark on the actual face of the printing plate is as below:

It makes me wonder if the printing plate were sold to another manufacturer or stolen. Regardless I do see a great deal of similarities between the actual plate I purchased off of ebay and the actual printing plate, so I feel like I am pretty close! I will keep digging for you all and maybe in Kentucky I will have some examples of each item with the respective printing plate.

If anyone has the Twigg Brothers plate from Connie Roger’s collection, I would love to have it or at least get pictures! I have the printing plate that it was made from!

I wanted to send a couple of links to remind us of why we fell in love with these pieces. This my friends is on my bucket list. I have always wanted to see a willow plate be made and would love to go to the Spode factory/museum.

Spodeworks often posts videos of artisans keeping the Heritage alive by doing tutorials featuring the willow pattern plates. Can I tell you every time I see a video pop up, I drool?

I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend. Happy willowing!



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