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  • Object:


  • Place of origin:

    Staffordshire (probably, made)

  • Date:

    1790-1810 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:


  • Materials and Techniques:

    Glazed earthenware

  • Credit Line:

    Accepted by HM Government in lieu of Inheritance Tax and allocated to the Victoria and Albert Museum, 1996

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

This Prattware plaque features the murder of Desdemona by Othello from Shakespeare's Othello Act V, sc.ii. The plaque was made some time from about 1790 to 1810 when pearlware plaques such as these were produced as popular cheap wall decoration. A plaster mould was made initially, into which clay was pressed and from which at least a hundred and sometimes as many as two hundred plaques could be produced. When dry, plaques were painted and fired at very high temperatures so that several colours could be fixed at once, dispensing with the need for subsequent painting and firing. Prattware was first produced by the firm of William Pratt of Lane Delph, later Fenton, an area of Stoke on Trent in Staffordshire.

The scene on the plaque would have been taken from a contemporary print. The late 18th and early 19th century saw several productions of the play with popular stars depicted by print-makers, including that at Covent Garden in 1804 with Mrs. Siddons as Desdemona.

Physical description

Glazed earthenware plaque with decorative integral mustard-coloured frame of curled acanthus leaves forming scrolled shapes. The central, roughly circular plaque features an image in relief of Desdemona, in a white dress and mustard sash, lying dead upon a green-canopied bed, with Othello, wearing a white tunic, knee breeches and mustard sash, standing to the right of the bed, his arm outstretched over her.

Place of Origin

Staffordshire (probably, made)


1790-1810 (made)



Materials and Techniques

Glazed earthenware


Height: 15.1 cm, Width: 11.7 cm at widest point, Depth: 0.7 cm

Descriptive line

Glazed earthenware wall plaque featuring an image of the death of Desdemona from Othello, Act V, sc.ii, English, probably Staffordshire, 1790-1810.

Production Note

Make of ceramic known as Pratt ware


Earthenware; Glaze

Subjects depicted



Entertainment & Leisure; Creamware & Pearlware; Figures & Decorative ceramics; Pratt ware


Theatre and Performance Collection

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