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Porcelain Fraud, 1850 style: Worcester ‘Dresden Wreath’ pattern.

Who’s been naughty here?

Bowers PorcelainA part Victorian tea service in today’s Fresh Stock has an interesting tale to tell.
A glance at the mark suggests two possibilities: ‘Dresden’, ie made in the German city famous for the Meissen works, and ‘Worcester’. It’s neither!
The printed mark is typical of Staffordshire makers in the mid 19th century, and describes the pattern; a wreath of flowers in the Dresden style. They often had their name directly below such a mark, and indeed here we see 293 ‘Worcester’ written here.
But something’s not right: this is unlike any Worcester products, being printed and painted in quite a loose manner, and on porcelain which isn’t the usual pristine Worcester bone china…. closer investigation reveals a very interesting feature: the ‘Worcester’ is hand-painted over a printed name! Careful study reveals ‘G. F. Bowers & Co’ to be the carefully concealed maker’s name. 
George Frederick Bowers & Co. were a Staffordshire porcelain maker from 1842-68, a perfect date for this type of teawares & decoration. But how did ‘Worcester’ come to blot out their name? It seems unlikely that Bowers workers would do such a thing as the name was an important part of advertising, allowing a household to order replacements from the right firm. This appears to be a case of Porcelain Fraud: as Worcester was well-known and expensive, the logic conclusion is that a retailer has added the mark fraudulently in order to pass it off to an unsuspecting customer as ‘Worcester’!

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