Artifact Spotlight: Porcelain Pitcher

Christeah Dupont, Point Ellice House Museum & Gardens

Point Ellice House has an extensive china pantry and this week we are featuring a white porcelain pitcher (PEH 975.1.349) from the collection. According to the records in our database, it was likely purchased sometime between 1883 and 1893. The design of the pitcher is interesting as it shows intertwined rose, thistle, and shamrock which are the respective flowers of England, Scotland, and the O’Reilly family’s native Ireland. These floral motifs are often seen on coat of arms, as well as the general iconography of the United Kingdom.

The mark on the bottom of the pitcher speaks further to the British origin of this piece; the diamond design and presence of the“Rd” icon are symbols of registration with British Patent office. From this mark, we were able to discern the day, month, and year that the patent was issued:  December 4th, 1861. The presence of this mark not only assured buyers of the time that these objects were manufactured in the UK, but also helped prevent what would have been an early form of copyright infringement should another similar design have been created and sold.

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