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Charger: C.49-1972

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Object information


  • Large dish decorated with animals & foliage

Earthenware dish painted in polychrome enamels with a central owl

Cream-coloured earthenware painted in blue, two shades of green, orange-red, beige, pale and dark brown, black, and white enamels. Circular with a wide rim and deep curved sides, standing on a foot-ring. In the centre is an owl in a circular medallion surrounded by radiating oak leaves and forest animals amid stylised oak trees. Above these, and extending across the rim, are eight leaf arches, each containing a black and white striped vase encircled by eleven, long-stemmed, stylised daisies on alternate pale blue and black backgrounds. The triangular space between each leaf arch contains a thistle. There is a thin white band around the edge and another, crossed only by the leaf arches, between the centre of the dish and the rim. Around the back is a wide garland of thin leaves and flowers. There is a narrow foot-rim, within which the underside is flat and glazed.

Charles and Lavinia Handley-Read Collection; both died 1971; purchased from Thomas Stainton, executor of the Handley-Read Estate

Named entities

Legal notes

Purchased with the Perceval Fund and grant-in-aid from the Victoria and Albert Museum.

Acquisition and important dates

  • Method of acquisition: Bought
  • Dates: 1972




Powell was inspired by the designs of the Arts & Crafts Movement, and the influence of William Morris and Edward Burne-Jones can be seen in the decoration of this dish: the animals and foliage remind, particularly, of tapestries made by Morris & Co at Merton Abbey. A pair of similar dishes, one with an owl and the other with a peacock at its centre, were in the Zeitlin Collection until 2004. Many of Powell’s designs are based on plant and animal motifs, others feature architectural views and calligraphy. He and Louise Powell also created simpler patterns for factory production during the 1920s-30s.

Alfred Hoare Powell (1865-1960) joined Wedgwood in 1903 as a designer and decorator. In 1906, in conjunction with Wedgwood, he set up a studio at 20 Red Lion Square, where he and his wife, (Ada) Louise Lessore (1882-1856), hand-decorated biscuit-ware from Wedgwood’s Etruria factory. Alfred was originally an architect and Louise a calligrapher and illuminator. Together, they trained decorators at the Etruria factory, revived some late eighteenth century patterns, experimented with painting on tin-glaze and were influential in re-introducing hand-painting after World War I; they also hand-painted furniture for Ernest Gimson and Sydney Barnsley. Exhibiting regularly at the Arts & Crafts exhibitions from 1906-1935, their works were widely praised as ‘unique productions’ and ‘admirable examples of design and facture’, dominating the field until the growth of studio pottery in the mid-1920s.

Place(s) associated

  • Etruria ⪼ Staffordshire ⪼ England
  • Red Lion Square ⪼ London ⪼ England

Measurements and weight

  • Diameter: 47 cm
  • Height: 7.5 cm

Agents depicted

Subjects depicted

Components of the work

  • Decoration composed of enamels ( polychrome)

Materials used in production

Techniques used in production

Inscription or legends present

Inscription present: in rectangular seal

  • Text: WEDGWOOD
  • Location: On the base
  • Method of creation: Impressed
  • Type: Mark
  • Text: 455
  • Location: On the base
  • Method of creation: Painted in black
  • Type: Mark

Inscription present: arrow head with 'P'

  • Text: AP monogram
  • Location: On the base
  • Method of creation: Painted in black
  • Type: Mark

Associated department: Applied Arts

References and bibliographic entries

Related exhibitions

Identification numbers

Audit data

  • Created: Saturday 6 August 2011
  • Updated: Tuesday 30 March 2021
  • Last processed: Thursday 8 April 2021
  • Data source: Adlib

Associated institutions

How to cite this record

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

The Fitzwilliam Museum (2020) "Charger" Web page available at: Accessed: 2021-05-15 08:16:48

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

{{cite web|url=|title=Charger|author=The Fitzwilliam Museum|accessdate=2021-05-15 08:16:48|publisher=The University of Cambridge}}

Machine readable data

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