The Gilnockie Plate: a rare slipware dish, mid 18th century
Lot 11
The Gilnockie Plate: a rare slipware dish, mid 18th century
Sold for £13,750 (US$ 22,452) inc. premium

Lot Details
The Gilnockie Plate: a rare slipware dish, mid 18th century
Circular with a piecrust rim, trailed in mid-brown and dark brown slip with a flowering spray or bush, probably a rose bush, the spreading stems with small leaves, two long pointed leaves flanking the roots, the piecrust rim edged with a single dark brown line, traces of lightly moulded initials in the centre (fine cracks and crazing) sold together with an oak display case believed to have been made by the owner's great grandfather (2)

Footnotes

  • By family tradition, the Gilnockie Plate, also known as the Armstrong Plate, came into the family around 1850. The family business was as joiners and undertakers in Langholm, some eight miles north of the Scottish border and twenty miles from Carlisle. The dish was offered to the family in lieu of an unpaid account and the family used their carpentry skills to construct the display case which is included in this lot. The Border Country was not a wealthy area and it was quite normal to barter goods for funeral expenses in these times.

    Gilnockie is a small hamlet close to the English border, with the remains of a tower and castle which was the seat of the Armstrong Clan. During the 16th century the Scottish clans became very powerful and the notorious 'Border Reivers' made numerous forays into England as did the English into Scotland. The most infamous was Johnnie Armstrong, but he and many of his supporters were lured by James V into a trap near Hawick and hanged. Thereafter, in an effort to pacify the situation many clans people, including the Armstrongs were offered land in Ireland. Their descendants include the astronaut Neil Armstrong who traced his roots back to the Gilnockie area and was the first man to be granted the freedom of the Burgh of Langholm.

    Gilnockie is not all that far from Clifton, near Warrington which was the location of a number of potteries in the 18th century. The discovery of the Clifton Dish, sold in these rooms 29 November 1989, lot 241 shows that Clifton was manufacturing moulded and trailed slipware dishes and may possibly be the source of the present lot. The initials moulded in the centre of the Gilnockie Plate are sadly indistinct but may include the letter W. It is worth comparing the present lot with a dish with a stylised tulip plant and other moulded initials, exhibited by Sampson and Horne 2009, cat.09/01.

    The Gilnockie Plate was treated with reverence in the Borders and this may be due to its Jacobite significance. The plant depicted is probably a rose bush with seven-petalled roses. Flanking these are two partly-opened flowers that have been interpreted as tulips representing the union between Britain and Holland. Growing from the same stem as the roses, these may also be identified as two partly open buds, symbols of the Old and Young Pretender.

Saleroom notices

  • Please note that the diameter of the dish is 35cm
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Contacts
  1. Fergus Gambon
    Specialist - British Ceramics
    Bonhams
    Work
    101 New Bond Street
    London, United Kingdom W1S 1SR
    Work +44 20 7468 8245
    FaxFax: +44 20 7468 8252
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