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Plate from the Darwin Service: C.3-1988

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Object information

Current Location: Gallery 27 (Glaisher)


Plate from the Darwin Service


Factory: Wedgwood & Byerley




Earthenware plate decorated with 'Brown Water Lily' pattern

White earthenware printed underglaze in brown, painted overglaze in pale terracotta enamel and gilt. Circular with sloping rim, shallow well and flat centre. Decorated in the centre with 'Brown Water Lily' pattern, comprising on the left, Nymphaea stellata, on the right, Nymphaea lotus, and in the middle, Nelumbium speciosum (Nelumbo nucifera). On the rim, a border of overlapping circles and a gold band.


History note: Robert Darwin of Shrewsbury; by descent in the Darwin family to George Pember Darwin, by whom lent to the Fitzwilliam in 1963.

Legal notes

Given by George Pember Darwin

Measurements and weight

Diameter: 24.8 cm
Height: 2.4 cm

Place(s) associated

  • Etruria ⪼ Staffordshire ⪼ England

Acquisition and important dates

Method of acquisition: Given (1988-03-14) by Darwin, George Pember


Early 19th Century
George III
Circa 1807 CE - 1808 CE


This pattern was no. 495 in the first Pattern Book, described as 'Brown printed Water Lily, shaded in red and cut up with gold, and gold outside edge'.The earliest invoice for engraving the plates was from Semei Bourne for a pickle saucer in 1806, and most of the dinner service was engraved by John Robinson in 1807. The flowers were derived from the following illustrations: Botanists' Repository, October 1803, pl. 330; Botanical Magazine, December 1804, pl. 797; Botanists' Repository, September 1804, pl. 391; Botanical Magazine, February 1806, pl. 903. The service was not designed specially for Susannah and Robert Darwin, but became known as the 'Darwin Service' because of theirs. They ordered their service in 1807 and it had been received by 29 March 1808 as recorded in a letter from Susannah Darwin to her brother Josiah II (L.2.2.35). It had 150 pieces of which 129 are known, including 57 10 in plates (i.e. 9 7/8 in).

People, subjects and objects depicted

Components of the work

Decoration composed of enamel ( pale terracotta) gold

Materials used in production

White earthenware

Techniques used in production

Moulding : Earthenware printed underglaze in brown, painted overglaze in pale terracotta enamel and gilt.

Inscription or legends present

  • Text: WEDGWOOD, 1 and slightly above to right, 1
  • Location: On the base
  • Method of creation: Impressed
  • Type: Factory mark

References and bibliographic entries

Related exhibitions

Identification numbers

Accession number: C.3-1988
Primary reference Number: 11974
Stable URI

Audit data

Created: Saturday 6 August 2011 Updated: Monday 10 April 2017 Last processed: Thursday 8 April 2021

Associated departments & institutions

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

Citation for print

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The Fitzwilliam Museum (2023) "Plate from the Darwin Service" Web page available at: Accessed: 2023-02-05 04:23:56

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{{cite web|url= |title=Plate from the Darwin Service |author=The Fitzwilliam Museum|accessdate=2023-02-05 04:23:56|publisher=The University of Cambridge}}

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