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Galleon dish: C.24-2014

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Object information

Current Location: In storage


Galleon dish


Decorator: Pearson, John




Large earthenware dish, painted over glaze in blue, green, mustard-yellow, purple and black and in purple and gold lustres with a galleon and fish

Earthenware, thrown, glazed, and painted in blue, green, mustard-yellow, purple, and black, and in purple and gold lustres. The dish has a wide base and gently convex sides and sits on a raised foot-rim. The inside is decorated with a large blue galleon sailing on a green sea; three blue dolphins swim in the sea below; twenty figures on deck and two ladders of rigging are painted in purple; behind the ship are horizontal bands of dark pink and gold lustre, shaped to suggest land, sky and clouds. The outside of the dish is is decorated from rim to foot with continuous bands of blue, mustard yellow edged with blue and containing large green spots, a second band of blue, and green edged with blue. The underside is recessed, glazed and decorated with two large dolphins, swimming nose to tail, one above the other, on a ground of roughly concentric thin bands of green and of dark pink lustre, painted after the dolphins.


History note: Unknown before donor

Legal notes

Given by Brian Coleman

Measurements and weight

Diameter: 31.8 cm
Height: 7 cm

Place(s) associated

  • London ⪼ England

Acquisition and important dates

Method of acquisition: Given (2014-11-24) by Coleman, Brian


20th Century, Early
1885 CE - 1929 CE


John Pearson (1859-1930), born in Lambeth to a journeyman broom maker, trained in metalwork with the Home Arts & Industries Association. He was a ceramics designer and decorator for William De Morgan in the 1880s, working on blanks and tiles. In 1888 he became a founder member of the Guild of Handicraft, set up by C R Ashbee as a craftsmens’ co-operative in Whitechapel, but resigned in 1892 to develop his own commercial practice as a metalworker and ceramic designer. During the 1890s, Pearson spent several years teaching industrial design in Newlyn, Cornwall. In 1901 he opened a workshop in HanwaySt, London W1, where made decorative metalwork, decorated ceramics and continued to teach until 1929. He is best known for his repousse copper pieces. Both Liberty’s and Morris & Co. sold his work.

On this dish the galleon and the stylised, dolphin-filled sea on which it sails strongly resembles tile panels designed by De Morgan for the P& O Steam Navigation Company’s luxury liners in the 1880s. The decoration of the whole surface, including the underside, and the two dolphins under the base are also reminiscent of De Morgan’s work. However, the use of solid bands of lustre, the dominant deep blue colour and the naïve wavy design around the sides identify the dish as Pearson’s. as does the artist’s monogram mark.

People, subjects and objects depicted

Components of the work

Decoration composed of glaze ( clear) lustre ( gold and purple) enamels ( matt colours)

Materials used in production


Techniques used in production

Throwing : Thrown earthenware dish, glazed, painted and lustred.

References and bibliographic entries

Identification numbers

Accession number: C.24-2014
Primary reference Number: 200089
Stable URI

Audit data

Created: Tuesday 20 January 2015 Updated: Wednesday 15 July 2020 Last processed: Friday 8 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) "Galleon dish" Web page available at: Accessed: 2024-07-14 15:45:08

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{{cite web|url= |title=Galleon dish |author=The Fitzwilliam Museum|accessdate=2024-07-14 15:45:08|publisher=The University of Cambridge}}

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