Unusual English enamel box, red & black prints, Birmingham c.1755

English Enamel patch box of oval shape, unusually printed in dark brown on the top and brick-red to the sides, the top with travellers in a landscape enhanced in coloured enamels, the sides with countryside views printed in red, the interior of the lid with a hand-painted rose specimen.

Attributed to Birmingham,

Circa 1755

Signs of age, some small repairs evident to base


A very unusual combination of black and red printing, this piece has an exciting story to tell –

The decoration of this piece relates to the ‘Smoky Primitive’ prints that are the very first instance of printing on English ceramics, instigated at the Worcester factory in the early 1750’s. The key name was that of Robert Hancock, a printer who served his apprenticeship in Birmingham before heading to Worcester to help pioneer the first printing on porcelain. Could this be a key ‘experimental’ piece, done on a locally made Birmingham blank, perhaps even by Hancock himself?

Paul Rosenberg has a paper in the works about this fascinating possibility, to be published on our blog shortly. Several fresh discoveries/ insights will be part of this publication.




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