Success to the British Fisheries thumbnail 1
Image of Gallery in South Kensington
On display at V&A South Kensington
British Galleries, Room 118; The Wolfson Gallery

Success to the British Fisheries

Plaque
1750-1751 (made)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

Object Type
This plaque is thought to be the result of early experiments in transferring printed designs onto enamels. The powdery appearance of the print outlines and overpainting point to a process not fully mastered. The subject-matter of the design also indicates a likely date of late 1750 or early 1751. Only a few years later, the technique was to be perfected on enamels, porcelain and tiles at factories in London, Liverpool and the Midlands. Its development was rapid, for factory owners could see the economic advantage of being able to decorate wares much more easily and quickly than was the case with hand-painting.

Subjects Depicted
The plaque commemorates the foundation by Royal Charter of the 'Free British Fishery Society' or British Herring Fishery Company, on 25 October 1750. Frederick, Prince of Wales (who died in 1751), was the society's first governor, followed by George III. A gentleman, perhaps the Prince of Wales, and lady watch three Englishmen pack herring into barrels. Two Dutchmen look dejected at their loss of trade. Above a banner proclaiming 'Success to the British Fishery' is the zodiac sign of Pisces, and below are a crossed paddle and trident. This design is one of a group of stylistically similar overpainted transfer-prints on 1750s Birmingham enamels, all inspired by the work of French painters such as Jean-Antoine Watteau (1684-1721).

People
Louis-Philippe Boitard (active 1733-1763), a freelance book illustrator and engraver from Paris, moved to London in 1735 and was recorded as living in Lambeth Marsh in 1751. He gained notoriety for pirating Hogarth's set of prints The Rake's Progress, reducing it to a single print. His prints were used for Bow and Worcester porcelain as well as Birmingham enamels.

Place
It used to be thought that this plaque was decorated at the Battersea enamel factory (in existence, 1753-1756), but the imperfect transfer of the print, combined with the topicality of the subject in 1750/51 mitigate against this. Transfer-printing was being perfected on Birmingham enamels in the years preceding the commencement of work at Battersea. Birmingham links with Battersea were strong, though, with John Brooks (active about 1730-1756), who claimed to have invented transfer-printing, moving from Birmingham to become a partner of the Battersea concern.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
White enamel on copper, printed in red, completed with red painted detail, with a gilt-metal frame
Brief Description
Plaque, Success to the British Fisheries
Physical Description
Plaque commemorating the foundation of the Free British Fishery Society
Dimensions
  • Maximum height: 12.4cm
  • Maximum width: 9.8cm
  • Maximum depth: 0.5cm
Dimensions checked: Registered Description; 01/01/1998 by KN
Gallery Label
British Galleries: This plaque is one of the earliest examples of the decoration of enamel with images transferred from an engraved printing plate. The technique was probably developed in Birmingham. It became especially associated with the enamel factory at Battersea in London established by 1753. The Free British Fishery Society, set up to combat the Dutch trade, was founded in 1750.(27/03/2003)
Credit line
Given by Lady Charlotte Schreiber
Summary
Object Type
This plaque is thought to be the result of early experiments in transferring printed designs onto enamels. The powdery appearance of the print outlines and overpainting point to a process not fully mastered. The subject-matter of the design also indicates a likely date of late 1750 or early 1751. Only a few years later, the technique was to be perfected on enamels, porcelain and tiles at factories in London, Liverpool and the Midlands. Its development was rapid, for factory owners could see the economic advantage of being able to decorate wares much more easily and quickly than was the case with hand-painting.

Subjects Depicted
The plaque commemorates the foundation by Royal Charter of the 'Free British Fishery Society' or British Herring Fishery Company, on 25 October 1750. Frederick, Prince of Wales (who died in 1751), was the society's first governor, followed by George III. A gentleman, perhaps the Prince of Wales, and lady watch three Englishmen pack herring into barrels. Two Dutchmen look dejected at their loss of trade. Above a banner proclaiming 'Success to the British Fishery' is the zodiac sign of Pisces, and below are a crossed paddle and trident. This design is one of a group of stylistically similar overpainted transfer-prints on 1750s Birmingham enamels, all inspired by the work of French painters such as Jean-Antoine Watteau (1684-1721).

People
Louis-Philippe Boitard (active 1733-1763), a freelance book illustrator and engraver from Paris, moved to London in 1735 and was recorded as living in Lambeth Marsh in 1751. He gained notoriety for pirating Hogarth's set of prints The Rake's Progress, reducing it to a single print. His prints were used for Bow and Worcester porcelain as well as Birmingham enamels.

Place
It used to be thought that this plaque was decorated at the Battersea enamel factory (in existence, 1753-1756), but the imperfect transfer of the print, combined with the topicality of the subject in 1750/51 mitigate against this. Transfer-printing was being perfected on Birmingham enamels in the years preceding the commencement of work at Battersea. Birmingham links with Battersea were strong, though, with John Brooks (active about 1730-1756), who claimed to have invented transfer-printing, moving from Birmingham to become a partner of the Battersea concern.
Collection
Accession Number
414:1443-1885

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record createdApril 8, 2003
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