Friday, 18 November 2016

The First Known Transfer Print*

#ObjectOfTheDay

Success to the British Fisheries, 1750-51, probably Birmingham. V&A.

Plaque (1750 or 1751) made from white enamel (with a red transfer-print) on copper and framed in gilt metal.

This is the earliest example of transfer printing, a process probably developed in Birmingham and first used on enamel. As an early example, the process hasn’t been mastered yet, and the lines are a little powdery and have been over painted here and there. The plaque is held by the V&A, who state that it “commemorates the foundation by Royal Charter of the 'Free British Fishery Society' or British Herring Fishery Company, on 25 October 1750”. The design is similar to other Birmingham enamels of this period, including the picturing of swans, which was a dominant motif in Birmingham enamels.

The design is thought to be by the engraver Louis-Philippe Boitard (active 1733-1763), whose imagery was used in other Birmingham enamels, as well as Midland potteries. (W: 12.4. H: 9.8)

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