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Turkey Transferware Vignette, Plates & Platters and the History Behind Them

Every year I offer several turkey themed transferware pieces for sale in my shop, mostly plates and platters.  And, each year it seems I choose one or two to either use for serving our Thanksgiving turkey or to display around the house.  This year I've chosen one that I've not had in stock, or seen in person before.  It's called a Well & Tree platter because it's made for holding a roast, ham or of course a big ole Thanksgiving turkey and has indentations in the shape of a tree which allow for juices to drain to a well at the bottom end of the platter.  It was made by Royal Doulton and dates to the late 1800's to early 1900's.   I only recently found this piece and most of my kitchen has green accents so it was a perfect fit.  I've got it displayed in the kitchen alongside some of my advertising pieces, antique bread boards, a stack of cooking magazines (on the top is Taste of Home which one of my platters is on the cover of) and a big bark basket of pecans I gathered from our own yard.

I first saw this platter in a blue colorway in a room Kathryn Greeley designed and was immediately enamored with it.  It's the crowning, focal point of her blue transferware collection displayed in the dining room.    Pretty fabulous, isn't it?

Now, I know if you have been around for awhile, you've probably read this but I like to repeat it each year.  It's history after all and it gives another, interesting view of transferware, turkey transferware that is.

For some time after that first solemn feast in 1621, both the date and observance of Thanksgiving depended on national triumphs and local inclination until 1863, when President Lincoln proclaimed the fourth Thursday of November the nation's official Thanksgiving Day. By the 1870s, America's rising middle class hungered to celebrate the occasion with dinnerware specifically made for this special holiday.  Who fulfilled the desire for such beautiful, elaborate pieces? Well, England's profit minded potters  of course.  The Staffordshire potters had already been producing wares for the American market and they again responded to the people of the United States wishes with a series of delectable transfer-printed china patterns depicting the holiday's bird of choice.  Transferware depicting turkeys has been in production for over 100 years and remains as popular today, if not more so, than it was when first it came into being.  Today you can find new pieces made by some of the famous potters of the past (though most have gone out of business or have closed down their English shops and moved production to China) by Williams Sonoma, etc.

Here are some beautiful examples of plates and platters depicting turkeys that are available in my online shop, Nancy's Daily Dish.
To view more turkey wares, see these past posts on the subject
HERE        HERE         HERE       HERE 

First, a red transferware turkey platter by Royal Staffordshire, Clarice Cliff with the matching Tonquin border.  Many patterns were reproduced with turkeys on them to coordinate with other dinnerware.

Another Royal Staffordshire platter with a turkey and autumn foliage around the border, in brown, red and purple.  I have two of these, and the other is on display in my kitchen too!

This purple turkey platter just went to someone I'm sure most of you know of in blogland, my friend Amy Chalmers of Maison Decor shop and blog.  I had a feeling when I got this in, she'd want it as I know she's been hunting for one for some time.

I adore this black polychrome turkey plate by Midwinter.  I did a tablescape with this a couple of years ago…you can see it HERE.  

Wood & Sons in the English Scenery border…blue looks great with orange at Thanksgiving! 

Ridgway, circa 1891 creamware turkey plates.  I love the delicate border and turkey depiction alike.

  Below, is another rare, unusual and antique plate by Copeland Spode with a flow blue transfer.  This series is produced with several borders and colorways, each having a different game bird on the face. 

Hope you've gotten your turkey transferware fix!

Joining some of these parties:
Strut Your Stuff Saturday at Six Sisters Stuff 
Homemaking Linkup at Hope In Every Season 
Anything Goes Party at Bacon Time with the Hungry Hypo
The Party Bunch Weekend Linky at The Idea Room
Weekend Retreat Linky Party at AKA Design and Life


  1. wunderschönes porzellan haben sie!!! eine schöne woche wünscht angie aus deutschland

  2. Wonderful post! It's all just too pretty and I love the history! Especially loving that corner vignette in your kitchen!

  3. These are all beautiful pieces! And what interesting history attached to them :)

  4. Stunning, Nancy! I have a redware turkey platter that I adore and a transfer ware one that I found at a thrift. It's marked Made in Japan, but looks like the Staffordshire platters. I'm loving the blue and white turkey plate. Thanks for sharing, Nancy.

  5. Swoon...Swoon! I love your turkey platter on your countertop. I am a history lover too, especially English history and the migration of two branches of my ancestors into VA in the mid 1600s. I am a lover of Spode and old English silver.

  6. Nancy, I love all your turkey transfer ware. I love the vignette at the beginning of your post!

  7. Wow Nancy, what a turkey plate/platter collection! I love them all but I am partial to the one's where the turkey is in color. I really liked your black polychrome turkey table setting, beautiful!
    Have a great day,

  8. I love my purple turkey platter Nancy! It's more beautiful and impressive than I imagined it would be. Thank you!!

  9. This turkey platter junkie thanks you for the fix! Happy Thanksgiving!

  10. Hi Nancy! Oh, I just love your turkey platters! It would be hard for me to pick a favorite! Hope you're doing well.
    Be a sweetie,
    Shelia ;)

  11. Thank you for posting on Motivation Monday!

  12. Gorgeous platters Nancy! The blue and white display is, what a collection!
    Thanks so much for sharing at AMAZE ME MONDAY...

  13. Nancy, I enjoyed each and everyone of these gorgeous platters! I love transferware and have a small collection of both red and brown. I have a couple of red turkey plates. Reproductions from T.J. Maxx hanging in my entry. I loved reading the history too. Thanks for sharing with SYC. I will be featuring you this week.

  14. Oh wow. They are so pretty. Lots of eye candy. Thanks for sharing.

  15. Gorgeous transferware platters, Nancy. Turkey platters are the epitome of a Thanksgiving tradition. I believe my mother owned a Staffordshire platter like the third one you showed. I enjoyed the history of Thanksgiving you shared, too. Happy Thanksgiving!


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