A very attractive antique earthenware plate with a purple transfer ware print of Paul and Virginia, based upon the highly successful pastoral romance novel by the French writer Jacques-Henri Bernadin St Pierre originally published in 1788. The story is of the lives (and ,of course, love affair), of two young people brought up in Mauritius, free from social prejudice, religious superstition and other conventions of European society. ( See page 108, plate 347 of Gifts for Good Children, The History of Children's China 1790-1890, by Noel Riley.
The plate is unmarked other than a small purple transfer printed number 5 on the back but, most probably made by William Smith and Co of the Stafford Pottery, Stockton-on-Tees, County Durham, England, they operated 1825–1855.
The plate features a central purple colour transfer print of an attractive tropical island scene, with the two young people sitting together hand in hand on a rock with palm tree in the background and a sailing ship at anchor in the distance behind them. Below the print is the title "Paul and Virginia".
There is a low relief moulded floral border, which has groups of three flowers that have been rudimentary hand coloured in in red, yellow and blue enamels. There is also a plain blue enamel border band.
The plate is 8 3/8 inches (21.3 cm) diameter. It stands approx 1 inch (2.5 cm) high and weighs 355 g. It is in excellent antique condition with some very minor staining to the outer rim and some glaze rubbing to the high points This item was probably made during the William IV period around 1835.
We have a similar design pattern of "The Young Fishers" shown in one of the images, it is listed separately for sale.
It is a very attractive item for display or use and will be of particular interest to collectors of purple transfer ware prints child's pottery, and north eastern English transferware.