March 28, 2012

This rare Flight & Barr Worcester shanked-form plate, is from an interesting Scenic Dessert service, which was painted in chocolate monotones with views of the British Isles, a different scene to every piece. This one has an Irish coastal view including figures around fishing boats, a ruined castle by a village high on the cliffs, within a gilt strawberry border and gold line rims.       
Inscribed to the rear: HOWTH near DUBLIN,   
Flight & Barr, Wor.   Manufacturers to their MAJESTIES.   
Circa 1795     
The central panel is superbly painted, and is probably by the noted Worcester artist John Pennington, most famous for his work on the 'Hope Service' in 1792. 
This must be the village of Howth, near Dublin, in the late 18th century.

The ruins on the cliff top are a distinctive feature.

 Obviously, Howth was a fishing village.
Here, a dingy heads out while a fishing boat makes its way towards the sheltered cove where the womenfolk wait with tubs for the fish. 
 The mark is a very unusual variation on the usual, and other pieces from the same service have this same unusual format. 

The wording of the mark tells an interesting story:
       In 1783, the Worcester factory, started by Dr Wall around 1751, was sold to Thomas Flight - the former London sales agent for the concern - for £3,000. He let his two sons run the concern, with John Flight taking the lead role till his father’s death in 1792.
      George III and Queen Charlotte visited the city of Worcester with their second son (Prince Frederick, Duke of York) and three of their daughters in August 1788. They called at the retail premises of Joseph and John Flight and placed several orders for china. The King then accepted the Flights’ invitation to visit their factory, gave the brothers permission to style themselves ‘Manufacturers to their Majesties’, and advised them to set up a shop in London.   
      Similar favors were bestowed on the rival firm of Robert and Humphrey Chamberlain, which had recently opened a shop in Flights’ former premises in the High Street, Worcester.
      Martin Barr joined the firm as a partner in 1792, and the mark Flight & Barr was used until 1804, when on the death of Martin Barr, his two sons took over the partnership, the company becoming Barr, Flight & Barr.

There is a similar plate from this service with a view of Dudmaston House, Shropshire, can be seen in the house today, which is a National Trust property. Item 813541.

This superb piece is part of the 2012 Exhibition at Moorabool Antique Galleries, Geelong, Australia.
Item page with details & photos here

Visit the Exhibition here
Visit the website here.