M965.124.1.7 | St. Louis Gate - Porte St. Louis, transfer print for Cochran, Glasgow pottery, after 1875

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Transfer print
St. Louis Gate - Porte St. Louis, transfer print for Cochran, Glasgow pottery, after 1875
After 1875, 19th century
29.5 x 39.7 cm
Purchase from Charles P. de Volpi
© McCord Museum
Keywords:  Architecture (8646) , Military (334) , Transfer print (1)
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Keys to History

Commemorative keepsakes include souvenirs of places visited. Often given as wedding gifts, transfer-printed china is popular towards the late century. Ceramics, imported from Britain, feature themes relating to Canadian architecture and landscapes. Transfer prints are popular because images of a consistent quality by well-known artists can be mass reproduced. Sets of china, including dinner services, are cheaper because the use of transfer prints means that previously time-consuming handwork and less hardy on-glaze wares are superseded by faster, mass-produced under-glaze wares. The border of this plate, created for the colonial market, incorporates nationalistic views. Intertwined flora and fauna represent England (the rose), Scotland (the thistle), Ireland (the trefoil shamrock) and Canada (the beaver). Shiploads of ceramics arrive in Canada following changes in technology and navigation laws at midcentury. Wares are imported from Podmore, Walker and Company, Francis Morley and Company, and Robert Cochran's Britannia Pottery.

Elizabeth Collard, "Nineteenth-Century British Ceramic Imports," in The Book of Canadian Antiques, ed. Donald Blake Webster (Toronto: McGraw-Hill Ryerson, 1974), pp. 254-67.

Elizabeth Collard, The Potter's View of Canada (Montreal: McGill-Queen's University Press, 1983), plate 110.

Michel Lessard, Objets anciens du Québec: La vie domestique (Montreal: Éditions de l'homme, 1994), pp. 202-4.

Source : Crowding the Parlour [Web tour], by Jane Cook, McGill University (see Links)

  • What

    This is a tissue-paper transfer print used to make a pattern on a china plate. In this semimechanical process, the paper was printed from an engraved copper plate. Then the print was transferred to a ceramic blank, which was glazed.

  • Where

    The transfer print features the St. Louis Gate, an entranceway to the old city of Quebec. It is from Britannia Pottery in Glasgow, Scotland.

  • When

    The transfer print is from after 1875. British North American scenes first became popular in the 1880s.

  • Who

    Robert Cochran sent salesman James Fleming to work in Quebec from the mid-19th until the early 20th century. Francis T. Thomas, a Quebec City merchant after 1874, sold scenery wares in pink and brown.