Back in June last year we proved that it’s impossible to work with a pottery archive for as long as we have before the desire to acquire something from that pottery becomes overwhelming. Born out of a purely selfless wish to educate and inform *cough* this first item helped us illustrate what you can expect to find in the catalogue’s pattern and estimate books when armed with a pattern number. And now we’ve gone and done it again…
Our newest addition is a lovely earthenware cup featuring a daisy design who’s colours and style looked so familiar that it became a virtually irresistible purchase. Not only did it remind us of illustrations from Art & Design folios such as SD 1705/MS1949 and MS1950 but an image of the exact same pattern in Joan Jones’ Minton: The First Two Hundred Years of Design & Production had clearly percolated into our minds without us even realising it!
According to Jones “Daisy” pattern was originally designed by Walter Stanley Woodman in 1927, though the central flower motif was altered – possibly by Reginald Haggar – some time later. It’s that slight alteration that we felt made this particular piece worthy of another blog post as it turns out C5011 is just the tip of the pattern number iceberg…
The Estimate Book entry for C5011 contains no fewer than nine other pattern number references – some as part of the original entry text, others added later – and that number doubles if the references found under those entries are also included. Whilst the majority are other C-prefixed numbers – “Earthenware Tableware decorations of all kinds1” – there are also M-prefixed numbers – “used for Hotel China1” – and NP-prefixed numbers – “temporary numbers for new patterns1” – in the mix too, and each represents a similar design elsewhere in the pattern books.
At their most straightforward these may simply denote a different colourway – as in C5012, which is identical save a brown rather than green band – but they can also indicate major alterations or derivations. For example, both C5142 and C5146 are listed against our original design, with C5142 introducing a new daisy motif (the possible adaptation by Haggar we mentioned earlier) and C5146 adding a different band. Follow that through and you’ll note that C5011 and C5146 therefore have no design elements in common but are instead linked together by pattern C5142 and, as the image above shows, a quick note about the pricing in the Estimate Book – complicated stuff!
Whilst its fascinating to hop between Pattern and Estimate Books uncovering all the different variations of patterns like “Daisy” it’s also rather easy to become lost in a sea of similar-sounding numbers and similar-looking designs. What our Minton piece has helped to illustrate therefore is that almost any tweak or change in a pattern resulted in a new pattern number, with popular patterns especially well catered for. Don’t be confused if a similarly-patterned item to one you already own has a wildly different pattern number underneath as you may find the Archive’s Estimate Books hold the key… just beware of being swept away by a tidal wave of pattern numbers when you check!