Shakespeare souvenir plate
- Place of origin:
Sampson Hancock & Sons (makers)
- Materials and Techniques:
- Museum number:
- Gallery location:
This souvenir plate illustrated with an image of William Shakespeare (1564-1616) features a copy of his signature, and around the rim six views of places in Stratford-upon-Avon with which he was associated: the room in which he was born; the exterior of his house; Anne Hathaway's cottage; a view of the town and the river; the church where he was buried, and the first Shakespeare Memorial Theatre which opened in 1879 but burned down in March 1926.
The company which made this plate was founded in Tunstall, in the Potteries, by Sampson Hancock in 1857; it closed in 1937. It was a relatively small enterprise, employing around 150 people. Sampson Hancock died in 1900 and was succeeded in the business by his sons. The company produced tablewares and fancies for the popular market - its main income being from semi-porcelain and earthenware tablewares, toilet wares, vases and vitreous hotel wares. Souvenir plates such as this would have sold well, and similar items are sold today, especially in Stratford-upon-Avon.
Glazed earthenware plate illustrated in shades of blue with, centre, an image of Shakespeare and his signature, and around the raised edges with six views of places in Stratford-upon-Avon associated with him - clockwise from top centre: the room in which he was born; the exterior of Shakespeare's house; Ann Hathaway's cottage; a view of the town and the river; the church where Shakespeare was born, and the Memorial Theatre, painted in underglaze blue with a decorative patterned border around the central image of Shakespeare and the edge of the rim.
Place of Origin
Sampson Hancock & Sons (makers)
Materials and Techniques
Marks and inscriptions
underglaze mark on base in blue above a crown.
'OPAQUE CHINA S H & S ENGLAND Reg. no 423164'
Marked on base in underglaze blue, below the crown.
Diameter: 25.5 cm
Object history note
The company which made this plate was founded by Sampson Hancock, a prominent Wesleyan, in 1857. It was renamed S. Hancock & Sons (Potters) Ltd. in 1935 and closed in 1937, having been put into receivership on 23rd March. It was a relatively small enterprise, employing around 150 people. Sampson Hancock died on 9th May 1900 and was succeeded in the business by his sons, Jabez, Harry and Arthur.
The company produced tablewares and fancies for the popular market - its main income being from semi-porcelain and earthenware tablewares, toilet wares, vases and vitreous hotel wares. Many of the products, including ironstone china, were for export markets. Before WW1 they were represented in London by M.V.V. Adams and had showrooms at 9 Charterhouse Street, Holborn Circus. In 1904 they produced a range of blue plaques commemorating famous authors and this may belong to that group.
After World War 1 the company increased its production of ornamental and decorative wares. These included children's wares and doll's heads. Boxed teasets for children were being produced by 1917 featuring popular nursery rhymes and pictures of children. The company also produced a range of crested wares, these being marked with the trade name The 'Duchess' China or The 'Corona' China and Grosvenor Ware. These may have been produced in quantity to see the company through the war years when skilled labour was unavailable. Pieces included animals, small decorative dishes and Great War commemoratives, or had English or Welsh crests. Crested ware appears to have been made until the 1920s.
One of the main decorative ranges produced by the company was Morris Ware. This included many tube-lined patterns which resembled the Moorcroft productions and may have been intended to compete with that company. George Cartlidge was the first designer of this type of ware but the range continued with other designers. Morris ware was much praised in the trade press of the time which noted that foreign buyers at the British Industries Fair had shown interest in the range and it is now actively collected.
The company employed many different designers who each produced new ranges of wares and frequently signed their wares. Their factories were in the following locations:
1857 - 1870 Victoria Street, Tunstall
1881 - 1891 Bridge Pottery, Shelton (noted in Jewitt)
1892 - 1920 Gordon Works, Wolfe Street, Shelton
1920 - 1930 Gordon Pottery, Old Burton Place Works, off New Street, Hanley
1923 - 1937 Corona Pottery, Hanley
Souvenir plate commemorating William Shakespeare (1564-1616) and places with which he was associated. Glazed earthenware made by Sampson Hancock & Sons, Staffordshire, ca.1904
Moulding; Firing (heating); Painting; Glazing (coating)
Ceramics; Entertainment & Leisure
Theatre and Performance Collection