Charles Allerton & Sons Staffordshire English Willow Ware or Blue Willow Vintage Transferware Platter 11 1/4" Length by 9 1/4" Width, Circa 1929-1942

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This Dark Inky Blue Vintage Transferware Willow Platter was manufactured by Charles Allerton & Sons, Longton, England. The factory existed 1859-1942. This specific cartouche mark was used from 1929-1942. It measures 11 1/4" Length by 9 1/4" Width.

COMMENT: The scene is depicting the famous Willow Story that Caugley factories first transferred to a pearlware medium as early as 1780-1790 in England. Many other early competitors began transfer printing of this fable to share with the world.


Over the years many variations of this story have occurred as well as many variations of transfer print onto earthenware and porcelains. Anyway the story goes:

The main features of the true Willow pattern are the bridge with three persons crossing it, the willow tree, the boat, the main tea house, the two birds and the fence in the foreground of the garden. There is apparently no Chinese pattern which contains all the features of the standard Willow pattern.

For almost two centuries, the willow pattern has been the most popular design in pottery and generation of children have delighted in the quaint little figures, as they listened to the familiar old jingle -

'Two birds flying high

A Chinese vessel, sailing by.
A bridge with three men,
A willow tree, hanging o'er.
A Chinese temple, there it stands,
Built upon the river sands.
An apple tree, with apples on,
A crooked fence to end my song.'

Yet even today, many people have never heard the true story of the willow pattern. It tells of Knoon-shee, a lovely Chinese maiden, whose affections were bestowed upon her father's secretary, Chang, but who was commanded by her parents to wed a wealthy rival suitor. She refused to comply with their wishes, whereupon her enraged father locked her up in the little house just visible on the left of the temple. From here she contrived to send a message to her lover, 'Gather thy blossom, ere it be stolen.'

Thus encouraged, Chang succeeded in entering the apple orchard and carrying off his beloved. So we see them hurrying over the bridge. Knoon-shee with a distaff, and Chang carrying her box of jewels, is being pursued by the angry father brandishing a whip.

The lovers made good their escape in the 'little ship sailing by' and landed on the island, which can be seen on the left of the picture, where they took refuge in the little wooden house. But the father and discarded suitor tracked them and set fire to the house while they were sleeping and so the lovers perished.

Next morning their spirits rose, phoenix-like, in the form of two doves and we see them, with out-stretched wings, flying off to the realms of eternal happiness.

No one knows the origins of this story. It was told in China 2000 years ago and brought over to our country from Eastern lands by the Crusaders.

The willow pattern picture was first designed about 1770 by Thomas Minton for the Coalport Pottery Works in Staffordshire, a factory that has only lately closed down. At that time the craze for Chinese things was at its height and this dainty blue and white Chinese pattern instantly became popular. It was copied, with certain variations, by other Staffordshire potters and, though at first sight all willow patterns look alike, the different makes can be distinguished by various small details, such as the number of apples, the figures on the bridge, and the design of the crooked fence.

CONDITION: The bottom left corner has a chip that may be restored professionally should one so desire. This damage is illustrated in the accompanying photos. Other than this, the platter is in great condition. Therefore we are offering you this English willow platter in "as is" condition.

PRICE: $35.00


To purchase this item, please make note of the Item Number: PFTP000909 and contact us using our order form or call us at 1-416-535-3883.

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