I was at an auction this past weekend, and I bought several lots of old blue and white china. I am always checking the marks to see who made the piece, when it was made and where it was made. I use a site called The Potteries, which is out of Stoke-on-Trent in England. This is where most of the English china, porcelain and pottery was made for several hundred years.
Generally, if you can pick one or two words out of the back mark, you can find out all sorts of things. The mark above has the maker, the pattern the date of manufacture and the type of material. The maker is Charles Meigh, the pattern is Verenese, the dates are embossed in the clay and then glazed, so they’re hard to read, and the material is improved stone china. Then when I look at The Potteries site, I can find out more.
I can now discern that the piece was made between 1835 and 1849, by a process of elimination: there’s a CM in the mark and the Improved Stone China, so that leaves the piece as being made in the 14 years between 1835 and 1849. If it had either of the two other marks, I’d have dated it later.
There are several clues here: Wedgwood & Co. The & Co. differentiates in from just Wedgwood according to years and some other factors. The unicorn also differentiates is as export-ware – mainly to the USA. Melton is the pattern, which is pretty simple. But what do all of the other marks mean? There are lots of clues here.
So, using the guide, I can tell this is ceramic, made on January 30, 1883, and it was the 12th bundle made that day. There is a list of what each letter and number means. However, there are actually two lists, as they ran out of letters, so had to start again, switching places of the numbers and letters. The first set of marks were used from 1842-1867 and the second set from 1868-1883.
Here are some of the other marks on pieces I won.
To learn about English silver hallmarks, please click here for a post I did about them several years ago.