Staffordshire Circa 1810-25 Davenport Reticulated Gray Black Transferware Chestnut Bowl Butterfly Catching Scene


Brand Davenport

Here is a very, very rare piece by Davenport of North Staffordshire England, called a Chestnut bowl. Chestnut bowls rarely survived due to their very fragile nature. Most often, they had an underplate with them. Chestnuts were served in these Chinese style porcelain baskets, freshly roasted and peeled, then eaten like any nut. The slotted/reticulated bowl allowed the escape of steam from the hot chestnuts.

This bowl is a wonderful example of transferware scenes first being Anglicized by the English. Before 1810, all the designs were copied from hand painted Chinese porcelains. As tastes changed, so did designs and more Pastoral scenes were introduced. The scene depicts a stately English manor in the background and a couple in the foreground, one holding a butterfly net....or possibly a fishing net. I've seen this pattern referred to as both, so I am not completely certain which it is. The border looks like a type of fern. The pattern has also been called a few different names by dealers, ie: Oxford Hall, Tudor Mansion, Fern and Bishop Abbey.

John Davenport, born in 1765, is said to have begun potting in 1785, first as a workman, and later as a partner with Thomas Wolfe of Stoke. He acquired his own potftery at Longport for the manufacture of earthenware in 1794. In 1830 he retired, and his two sons Henry and William carried on the firm until 1835, when Henry died. This style of the firm then became William Davenport and Company. William died in 1869, and his two sons took over the direction of the business, which remained in the family until 1887.

Chestnuts have been eaten since prehistoric times. During the 18th and 19th centuries, Americans used ground chestnuts as bread flour and a substitute for potatoes. Most chestnuts that are cooked today are imported from Japan, China, Spain and Italy.

This piece is deeply discounted due to some chips around the rim. which I believe is where handles once were, as there are two shallow chips on each side and at about the same place. Many chestnut bowls had handles on either side. Unless you are looking closely, from the top, they appear to be indentations. Such an unusual, difficult to find, and beautiful piece for display or your collection.

The bottom is impressed with the potters name, Davenport and an anchor. This mark was used by Davenport between 1810 and 1825. (Godden Mark 1181)
Reference: Blue and White Transfer Ware: 1780-1840, A.W. Coysh, p30.
The Dictionary of BLUE and WHITE PRINTED POTTERY: 1780-1880: Volume I, P44.
Measures: 9 1/4" x 6 7/8" x 3" deep