Monday, November 14, 2011

The History of Turkey Transferware and Thank You's

Last month I was fortunate enough to be interviewed and featured in Romantic Homes magazines in regards to turkey transferware.  In the interview I shared the following history of the turkey themed plates and platters that England produced.
(above, I have this 1930-40's Black Polychrome Platter by Midwinter in the Rural England pattern displayed on a wall table.  This was one of the plattes featured in the magazine article.  It is very unusual to find black turkey transferware!)

With their economy struggling shortly after the Revolutionary War, the British began targeting America as a market by offering dinnerware depicting historical landmarks, the expansion of the West and patriotic scenes.  English potters began producing turkey themed wares for the American market circa 1870, shortly after Abraham Lincoln declared the fourth Thursday of November to be the nation's official Thanksgiving Day in 1863.

Until 1863, both the date and observation of Thanksgiving  depended on national triumphs or local inclination.

(below is my red/pink transferware turkey platter.  Circa 1930 Wood and Sons in the English Scenery pattern)

 I displayed my platter on an entry table, one of my favorite pieces of furniture btw, and created a floral spray of dried hydrangeas, pinecones, pheasant feathers and berries around the base.  To the side I placed a ceramic turkey plate.

This baby will easily accommodate a 24+ pound turkey. 

This is one of my favorites, very traditional in brown and white, by Royal Cauldon.  This one was made around 1910.  I served turkey form it either last year or year before...can't remember for sure.  This one was featured in the magazine article as well and is currently listed for sale in my shop at $425.  Yes, these are pricey I know.

Here's the same Royal Cauldon platter but in blue polychrome.  You can pick this up on Ebay right now for $800.  So see, mine is a bargain! 

Last year, I shared some of the turkey pieces at my shop in this post:  Talking Turkey and Transferware

Famous potters such as Ridgway, Royal Doulton and Wedgwood produced beautiful Flow Blue Turkey Platters.  These rarely start below $500 and usually go for $700-1200!  Yikers.  Beautiful though!

This Royal Doulton platter realized $700 at auction.

Wegwood, ditto

Same with this one by Ridgway

I know for a fact that Mrs. Maison Decor wants a purple turkey transferware platter, but this one is a goner (sold before I knew her!)

and I bet she would like this purple turkey plate to.

Green isn't a color you see very often either.

One of my favorite tablescapers, The Tablescaper, posted yesterday about turkey plates and platters and was so sweet to mention my Romantic Homes feature. Thank you for the shout out! Click the link above and you can see her post full of turkey transferware.  She is sharing some beautiful pieces that she found at Brimfield.   She sets some of the most gorgeous tables I've seen, including this one set for  Thanksgiving  with blue turkey transferware.   Tell her I sent you over!
(photo source, The Tablescaper)

Another favorite blogger of mine, and a customer from my Ebay days, Delores at Vignette Design did a post on turkey plates as well.  You don't want to miss that one either.  

You can find turkey themed English  transferware in a lot of colors, blue, green, red, purple, flow blue, brown and rarely black, like the platter in my first photo and this plate below, which is from the same pattern.
Tune in later this week to see my turkey tablescape with these black plates.

Congratulations to Savannah Granny!  Amy announced today that she is the winner of the $60 credit to my shop.  And, to Amy, thank you for the kindest words today in your post that touched my heart (and made me cry like a baby!).


  1. Nancy,
    Congrats on being featured in the magazine. You definitely deserve it.

  2. Nancy, I'm drooling over your turkey platters and I isn't a pretty sight. :)
    Yours are some of the most beautiful I've seen. Congratulations on being featured in Romantic Homes magazine. Thanks for sharing your platters and I hope you and your family have a very Happy Thanksgiving.

  3. Nancy, I bought a copy after I found out you were in RH. Wonderful article! Beautiful platters. I have a question...what kind of plate stand do you use when you display those very expensive platters on a table? I think I would have a nervous breakdown worrying about them falling over and breaking.

  4. Nancy, What a well deserved honor to be featured in Romantic Homes. You were a very wise lady when you began your collection :-) The pieces are beautiful and I love hearing the history behind them. Too bad the plates can't "talk" and tell of all the lovely dinners they have served over the years,

  5. Tanya,

    Great question! I need to do a post on this but for now... When I display large platters like these I use the heavy wood easels that open up. You have to be SURE to use one that is tall enough for the piece you're going to display it on. The back of the easel/plate stand should come more than halfway up the back of the plate/platter...really about 3/4 up is best. This supports it and doesn't leave them being top heavy. They are much less likely to get tipped that way.

    Thanks for picking up the article!


  6. I love those blue turkey platters!

    Happy Blue Monday, Nancy.

  7. Congrats on the magazine article. I'll take one of each of the turkey platters (oh, if only I could be so lucky!) Have a Happy Thanksgiving!

  8. Always love your posts. These turkey platters are amazing! I just have a Johnson Bros. and really enjoy showing it off. Congrats on the feature!

  9. Congrats to the winner!
    And congratulations to you too! I didn't see the article but your transferware collection and knowledge of same warrants being published.

    Just so you know, everything Amy said is so true! You are remarkable, creative, strong, generous, clever, helpful, a fabulous cook and so much more! I'm grateful our paths crossed.


  10. Oh...I love those turkey platters. I wish I had one...but boy they are expensive. Yes, I think Amy needs a purple one.

  11. And thank you back to you for your mention! I am still amazed by how many different turkey transferware patterns there are!!! I'm working on my mantel which I'll share this Sunday in Seasonal Sundays. It features a green transferware turkey plate I picked up at at a consignment shop. Perhaps you'll know a bit more about it's lineage.

    - The Tablescaper

  12. Nancy, congratulations!! That is so exciting and what a great feature!! Oh I am just drooling over these platters! They are all gorgeous but the multi-colored ones are my favorite! Thank so much for stopping by!!

  13. These are absolutely beautiful. I will have to pick up a copy of the magazine,congratulations for being featured.

  14. I only recently discovered your blog..and it's wonderful. I've loved transfer ware since I was a child and to find a blog dedicated to it is such such a find. I favor the old but they are coming out with such beautiful things... and the turkey ones are so fantastic!

  15. Congratulations on the magazine!! Yay! :)

  16. Nancy, all that I can possibly say is, "Fantastic collection!" You are so very knowledgeable and willing to share this wealth with others. It's no wonder that you were selected to be featured in RH. Congrats!
    ~ Sue

  17. Nancy,
    Your collection is so impressive..I've never seen such beautiful pieces! Love your posts!!

    Miss Bloomers

  18. Beautiful turkey platters...congrats on the great feature! Love the green platter...

  19. It is always so interesting to learn about the different pieces. Your collection is stunning. Thanks for all the knowledge and thanks for joining TTT. Hugs, marty

  20. ALL your dishes are just AMAZING! I love learning the history behind such cherished pieces. Your feature in Romantic Homes was just incredible. The first platter is my favorite.
    It's been great "talking turkey" with you!

  21. Hi Nancy,
    So glad you told me about your interview with Romantic Homes. Congratulations! You are the transferware queen! I just linked your post at the bottom of my turkey plate post, along with The Tablescaper. It seems we all had the same idea. I love shopping your Etsy shop too. You have some amazing pieces. ~Delores

  22. Great platters.
    That is wonderful about your interview with RH. I will have to pick up the issue when I am out this week!

  23. Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday, and these plates would be charming on any t'day table. Luckily, I have a set of brown transfer ware dinner plates that I layer with our wedding china and wicker chargers to make a great look. Thanks for sharing and educating us on the history of the turkey plates. I'm visiting from WOW. Stop by #67 - Equestrian Hallway - and have a visit.

  24. I have always loved transferware, but don't have any myself. That's makes it especially exciting to see a collection as wonderful as your turkey platters. Just beautiful! Congratulations on your magazine interview.

  25. Nancy, what a wonderful article. Congratulations on the feature! I'll save my copy of RH just for this article alone. ;-)
    I've enjoyed your post as well as the ones Delores and The Tablescaper did on turkey transfer ware. I think I need to save my pennies and add one of these pieces to our home. They are gorgeous. ;-)
    Happy Thanksgiving!

  26. Love, love, love the history behind these plates. Just to be at each setting when the turkey was served, how heavenly would that be? Thanks for sharing, enjoyed thoroughly!

  27. I can see why these platters are so valuable. For one, they've survived all these years, and two, they're absolutely beautiful! Congrats on being featured in Romantic Homes!
    Happy REDnesday,

  28. Oh, they are all so pretty.

    I have a small (pardon the pun) china pat collection which makes me smile.

  29. Congratulations! They are so beautiful how do you do you part with them? You have such beautiful platters and dishes.Love all you do!Thanks for sharing!

  30. Thank you so much for the history lesson about those fine turkey platters. They are each so unique. Kathi

  31. Congratulations on your feature, Nancy! I will have to look for that one. Love the turkey platters so much, I have the fake of the top one and love him dearly, even though he's a little rough :) Thanks so much for your nice message! I can't wait to see what you have to show us for Christmas.
    Cheers, Andrea

  32. Nancy, I just saw the magazine article..Congrats and well deserved!! You really should write a book about transferware. Thank you for sharing these wonderful platters at the Open House party.

  33. Nancy, they're all breathtakingly beautiful!

  34. Thanks for sharing this great content, I really enjoyed the insign you bring to the topic, awesome stuff!

    Consignment tulsa

    1. I love all your transfer ware ! You have an amazing collection! Thank you!!!



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