Skip to main content

Oyster plate with dolphins: C.4-1986

An image of Oyster plate

Terms of use

These images are provided for non-commercial use under a Creative Commons License (BY-NC-ND). To license a high resolution version, please contact our image library who will discuss fees, terms and waivers.

Download this image

Creative commons explained - what it means, how you can use our's and other people's content.

Object information

Current Location: In storage

Titles

Oyster plate with dolphins

Maker(s)

Factory: Wedgwood

Entities

Categories

Description

White earthenware, moulded and glazed.

Plate in the form of five oyster shells separated by dolphins, radiating from a small, circular bowl in the centre. On the reverse a low, curved foot supports each shell. The upper surface decorated with pale yellow, pink and purple majolica glazes. The dolphins are covered in shades of pink with eyes and fins picked out in deeper pink. The same pink is used on the outer edges of the shells and around the rim of the central bowl, thicker at the edge and shading away into the depressions, which are tinged with pale yellow. The shape and pearlescence of the inner shells is indicated with a faint application of purple. The reverse clear-glazed.

Notes

History note: Unknown before C.N.P. Powell, by whom given.

Legal notes

Given by C.N.P. Powell, DSO, OBE, FRSL, MA, through the Friends of the Fitzwilliam Museum

Measurements and weight

Diameter: 23.5 cm
Height: 3.7 cm

Place(s) associated

  • Etruria ⪼ Staffordshire ⪼ England

Acquisition and important dates

Method of acquisition: Given (1986-04-28) by Powell, C. N. Peter

Dating

Late 19th Century
Victorian
Circa 1878 CE - 1883 CE

Note

The Wedgwood pattern number for these plates is 2754, described as ‘Oyster Tray, Argenta’. They were also produced in other colours, including brown/pink dolphins and a mustard middle on a cream/white plate and cobalt blue shells with grey dolphins and a turquoise middle. Some 42 different entries in the Wedgwood majolica ware pattern books refer to oyster trays and stands, illustrating the range and popularity of oyster plate designs produced.

This is one of a pair of plates held in the Fitzwilliam collection. Oysters were abundant and inexpensive in the 19th Century, and oyster plates were fashionable from mid 1850s until c.1940. Some of the best were made with majolica glazes, introduced by Minton in 1851 and a significant area of Wedgwood production in the 1870s. Both shape and colour are important in majolica ware, and the use of colour to highlight the detail of the moulding on these plates is typical. The delicately applied pink colour and the light purple which mimics the inside of an oyster shell (less evident on this plate than on the other) suggests they were made after 1878, when Wedgwood updated its majolica ware, the new designs favouring embossed, often Japanese-inspired, naturalistic decoration painted in bright majolica colours against a pale or white background. This change, known as Argenta ware, followed the observation that earlier, more deeply coloured majolica seemed to be going out of fashion at the 1878 Paris exhibition. The lozenge-shaped factory mark indicates that the plates were made before 1884.

Components of the work

Reverse composed of lead-glaze ( clear)
Front composed of lead-glaze ( shaded in pale yellow, pale blue, and pink)

Materials used in production

White earthenware

Techniques used in production

Moulding : White earthenware, the upper surface decorated with pale yellow, pink and purple glaze.
Lead-glazing

Inscription or legends present

Inscription present: almost illegible

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

Inscription present: almost illegible

  • Text: possibly 'CUD'
  • Location: On reverse
  • Method of creation: Impressed
  • Type: Mark

Inscription present: almost illegible

  • Text: W
  • Location: On reverse
  • Method of creation: Impressed
  • Type: Mark

Inscription present: Lozenge shaped registration mark

  • Location: On reverse
  • Method of creation: Impressed
  • Type: Mark

References and bibliographic entries

Identification numbers

Accession number: C.4-1986
Primary reference Number: 12142
Stable URI

Audit data

Created: Saturday 6 August 2011 Updated: Wednesday 15 July 2020 Last processed: Sunday 21 March 2021

Associated departments & institutions

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

Citation for print

This record can be cited in the Harvard Bibliographic style using the text below:

The Fitzwilliam Museum (2022) "Oyster plate with dolphins" Web page available at: https://data.fitzmuseum.cam.ac.uk/id/object/12142 Accessed: 2022-11-28 22:44:25

Citation for Wikipedia

To cite this record on Wikipedia you can use this code snippet:

{{cite web|url=https://data.fitzmuseum.cam.ac.uk/id/object/12142 |title=Oyster plate with dolphins |author=The Fitzwilliam Museum|accessdate=2022-11-28 22:44:25|publisher=The University of Cambridge}}

API call for this record

To call these data via our API (remember this needs to be authenticated) you can use this code snippet:

https://data.fitzmuseum.cam.ac.uk/api/v1/objects/object-12142

Bootstrap HTML code for reuse

To use this as a simple code embed, copy this string:

<div class="text-center">
    <figure class="figure">
        <img src="https://data.fitzmuseum.cam.ac.uk/imagestore/aa/aa6/C_4_1986.jpg"
        alt="Oyster plate with dolphins"
        class="img-fluid" />
        <figcaption class="figure-caption text-info">Oyster plate with dolphins</figcaption>
    </figure>
</div>
    

Please enter your name as you would like to be addressed
Please enter your email address
The object accession number - this is prefilled
Please enter your query with as much detail as possible

More objects and works of art you might like

Oyster plate with dolphins

Accession Number: C.3-1986

The larder

Accession Number: 362

Intaglio (sculpture)

Accession Number: Loan Ant.103.736

Les mangeurs d' huitres

Accession Number: P.2253-1991

Suggested products from Curating Cambridge

You might be interested in this...

Sign up for updates

Updates about future exhibitions and displays, family activities, virtual events & news. You'll be the first to know...