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Drainer: C.864-1984

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Object information

Current Location: In storage


Factory: Wedgwood




White earthenware, pierced and transfer-printed underglaze in blue with 'Peony' pattern. Oval with a rim on the underside of the outer edge, and a circular hole in the centre surrounded by piercing: four radiating lines of paired leaf shapes with between them four diamonds surrounded by leaf shapes and six groups of four small circles. This pierced pattern is obscured by the printed design of four sprays of peonies and foliage which entirely covers the top surface.


History note: Gabor Cossa (Joan Eve), Trumpington Street, Cambridge, where purchased

Legal notes

Purchased with the J. R. V. Smyth Fund

Measurements and weight

Length: 24.7 cm
Width: 16.8 cm

Place(s) associated

  • Etruria ⪼ Staffordshire ⪼ England

Acquisition and important dates

Method of acquisition: Bought (1984-10-22) by Eve, Joan


George III
19th Century, Early#
Circa 1807 - 1812


Peony was one of several botanical patterns produced by Wedgwood following a decision to manufacture underglaze printed ware at the end of March 1805. It was described by the Wedgwood historian, Una des Fontaines, as 'probably one of the finest symmetrical flower patterns ever designed'. It was mentioned in the factory's records in 1806 and was in production from 1807. The engravings for the transfers were executed by William Hales (fl 1790-1815), possibly influenced by the Paeonia Suffructosa or shrubby peony illustrated in 'The Botanists' Repository' , vol. 7 (1806-07), pl. 448. John Wedgwood, who had rejoined the firm in 1800 and was largely responsible for its running in the first few years of the century, was keenly interested in botany, and was a founder member of the Royal Horticultural Society in 1804. After the death of Josiah Wedgwood I, the factory had not been doing well financially, and these printed floral patterns were intended to appeal to customers who enjoyed the highly fashionable enthusiasm for botany and gardening. The other printed botanical designs were 'Brown Water Lily' (see C. 3-1988), 'Hibiscus', 'Chrysanthemum', and 'Blue Botanical Flowers'. Blue transfer-printed ware is often viewed as a product for for the lower end of the market, but the splendid visual effect of a well-printed blue and white dinner service on highly polished mahogany or a white damask cloth should not be underestimated.

School or Style


Components of the work

Decoration composed of cobalt-blue ( in printing medium)

Materials used in production

White earthenware

Techniques used in production

Moulding : White earthenware, moulded, pierced and transfer-printed underglaze in blue with 'Peony' pattern

Inscription or legends present

  • Text: WEDGWOOD
  • Location: On the back
  • Method of creation: Impressed
  • Type: Factory mark

Inscription present: '12' and two eyebrows incised

  • Text: 12 and two eyebrows
  • Location: On the back
  • Method of creation: Incised
  • Type: Mark
  • Text: T
  • Location: On the back
  • Method of creation: Underglaze in blue
  • Type: Mark

References and bibliographic entries

Identification numbers

Accession number: C.864-1984
Primary reference Number: 11966
Stable URI

Audit data

Created: Saturday 6 August 2011 Updated: Tuesday 18 April 2023 Last processed: Wednesday 13 December 2023

Associated departments & institutions

Owner or interested party: The Fitzwilliam Museum
Associated department: Applied Arts

Citation for print

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The Fitzwilliam Museum (2024) "Drainer" Web page available at: Accessed: 2024-06-23 03:58:02

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