Rathbone


Rathbone of Amicable Street, Tunstall made china between about 1812 and 1835 (Godden, 1983). The problem is, which Rathbones were involved? The earliest evidence in 1808 is for Thomas Rathbone buying ground Cornish stone. Then in 1823  W. S. & J  Rathbone are listed as china manufacturers although William Rathbone had died in 1820. Samuel and John Rathbone are listed in 1828. In 1835 the works was advertised for sale and S and J Rathbone reported as deceased (Miller, 1983a, b). Bute cups have been found with an SJR mark within a rectangular cartouche on the base (see right). These initials do not match any other known maker so suggest that these cups, and other related shapes, were made by Rathbone. Relating to bute cups, Godden (1983) notes an agreement in the Hanley Museum between "Messrs Rathbones" and their potters for 1833 to 1834 mentioning the rates of pay:  "Bute cups & (coffee) cans... 2/2d per score". This shows that bute cups were still being made in 1833. For a full account of the family, factory and wares see Harvey (2005).

Rathbone teapots and creamers used with bute shaped cups are illustrated and discussed in an article in the New Hall and Friends newsletter (Roberts, 2004).


Rathbone cup attribution is based on comparison of handle shapes to  marked bute cups (see plates 293, 294 and 301 in Berthoud, 1990). These have Ridgway type handles and are decorated with oriental style transfers, mainly in blue Broseley patterns. As described above cups with the transfer SJR mark can be confidently attributed to Samuel and John Rathbone.  Others cups with the R under a crown transfer have very similar handles to the cup with the SJR mark. Finally, cups with the R in a sunburst mark on the base have handles similar to some with the R under a crown transfer.  The handles are similar to a coffee can decorated in the pink version of the "Yellow Shell" pattern in plate 26 of  Ironside (1999). They are also similar to a bute cup in pattern 35, the "Yellow Shell", photographed by Margaret Ironside who suggested that Rathbone decorators often put a line of colour on the "knuckles" of the two kicks on the handle. This cup also has a red zig-zag line along the handle.   The SJR, and R under a crown transfer marks are only found on the "Broseley" Chinese temple pattern. The R in a sunburst mark is also found on other Chinese patterns like the "teahouse". Other hand painted cups were usually unmarked. Two teabowls are also illustrated.


 Rathbone bute cups and coffee cans have a "Ridgway-type" handle with two kinks. All handles have a rounded top attachment and narrow, pointed lower attachment, many also have a line of colour across the "knuckles" of the kinks. Handles can be divided into two groups: 

Group 1 (smaller) Group 2 (larger + clear elbow)

Examples group 1 (smaller handles)

Smaller Ridgway type handles with two gentle "kicks" on lower side, without a marked "elbow" but with rounded upper and narrow, pointed lower attachment. These cups have lower pattern numbers but some have the same transfer printed marks as group 2 cups. 


 A cup with a Ridgway-style "loop" handle with two gentle kicks along the lower edge.  Group 1 handle with less pronounced elbow. Cup and saucer marked with blue transfer R in sunburst (see right).  Saucer also has painted pattern 115 in red. This is the "Teahouse" Pattern. Suggest Rathbone (a073) 
 A cup with a Ridgway-style "loop" handle with two gentle kicks along the lower edge.  Group 1 handle with less pronounced elbow. No mark. Suggest Rathbone (m041, w84, h59, b(45)) MIller. 
 A cup with a Ridgway-style "loop" handle with two gentle kicks along the lower edge (group 1). Cup  marked with blue transfer R under a crown (see right).   In this Broseley pattern the men on the bridge carry a parasol and a crook.  Suggest Rathbone (m001, w84.2) Miller 
 A cup with a Ridgway-style "loop" handle with two gentle kicks along the lower edge (group 1). Cup  marked with blue transfer R under a crown (see above).   In this Broseley pattern the men on the bridge carry a parasol and a crook.  Suggest Rathbone (a077, h55.5, w85.5, b40.8 (46.1) handle: h16.2 (20.7), v28.6, k29.4, w6.9, 4.7) 
 A can with a Ridgway-style "loop" handle with two gentle kicks along the lower edge (group1). Cup  marked with blue transfer R under a crown (see right).   In this Broseley pattern the men on the bridge carry a parasol and a crook.  Suggest Rathbone (a074, h59.6, w67.9, b (63.4) handle: h15.7 (20.7), v29.8, k28.4, w6.8, 4.7) 
A cup with a Ridgway-style "loop" handle with two gentle kicks along the lower edge (group 1). Rounded top and narrow, pointed bottom attachments. Clear white body.  Pattern same as on new oval teapot with 14 on base. Possibly Rathbone. (a080, h58.3, w81.6, b41.3, (45.1) handle: h14.8 (18.3), v28.3, w6.3, 4.5)

 A teabowl with straight sided footrim, Creamy body with brown translucency and finely crazed glaze. Dark blue lines. Decoration very similar to a080 and new oval teapot (see Roberts, 2004) so suggest Rathbone?  (aj581, h50.2, w86.6, b 40.9 (46.4))

 A cup with a Ridgway-style "loop" handle with two gentle kicks along the lower edge (group 1). Rounded top and narrow, pointed bottom attachments. Clear white body.  Black lines on "knuckles" of kicks on handle. Known Rathbone pattern 27.  (a075, h56.7, w82.9, b38.8 (42.7) handle: h14.8 (19.1), v27.9, w6.8, 4.8)
 A cup with a Ridgway-style "loop" handle with two gentle kicks along the lower edge (group 1). Rounded top and narrow, pointed bottom attachments. White body with grey translucency.  Dull blue lines on rim and "knuckles" of kicks on handle. Probably Rathbone pattern 21 (see Pl 512 in Berthoud, 1999) .  (aj584, h57.2, w82.4, b38.1 (42) handle: h14.4 (18.8), v26.9, w6, 4.4, t 4.1)

 A cup with a Ridgway-style "loop" handle with two gentle kicks along the lower edge. No lines on knuckles but 2 lines form V at lower handle attachment. Whitish body with darkish flecks.   Black bat print and  silver lustre lines. Similar to aj209 so suggest Rathbone?  (aj409, h56.1, w80.7, b 38.2 (42.6) handle: h14.1 (18.1), v26.3, w6.7, 4.7, t4.3)

 A can with a Ridgway-style "loop" handle with two gentle kicks along the lower edge. Dotted line on handle.  Puce bat print and  silver lustre lines. Suggest Rathbone?  (a135, h56.8, w66.5)

 A cup with a Ridgway-style "loop" handle with two gentle kicks along the lower edge. No lines on knuckles but 2 lines form V at lower handle attachment. Creamy body with finely crazed glaze.   Black bat print and  silver lustre lines. Suggest Rathbone?  (aj579, h56.7, w82.3, b 41.4 (46.7) handle: h13.7 (18.6), v30.2, w6.6, 4.5, t3.8)

 A cup with a Ridgway-style "loop" handle with two gentle kicks along the lower edge. Lustre lines along handle and 2 lines form V at lower handle attachment. Whitish body with darkish flecks.   Puce bat print and  silver lustre lines. Suggest Rathbone?  (aj465, h56.4, w80.9, b 39.8 (43.4) handle: h14 (18.7), v27.7, w6.3, 4.4, t4.3)

 A cup with a Ridgway-style "loop" handle with two gentle kicks along the lower edge (group 1). Creamy body . No lines painted on "knuckles" of kicks on handle but small V in ochre on both attachments.  Suggest Rathbone (aj752, h56.5, w83, b 37.2 (42.4) handle: h14.7,v26.9, w6.2. 4.2, t4.1)
 A cup with a Ridgway-style "loop" handle with two gentle kicks and pointed lower attachment (group 1). Creamy body . Hand painted outside but whole of inside deep pink lustre.  Suggest Rathbone (aj789, h56.7, w81.7, b 39.2 (43.2) handle: h15,v26.9, w6.6. 4.6, t4.1)
 A cup with a Ridgway-style "loop" handle with two gentle kicks along the lower edge (group 1). Creamy body with finely crazed glaze. Inside of footrim has accumulation of crazed greenish glaze. Pattern similar to figures 26 and 28  in Ironside (1999). Lines painted on "knuckles" of kicks on handle.  Suggest Rathbone pattern 35, "yellow shell".  (aj209, h58.5, w81.3, b 37.1 (42.1) handle: h13.9,v26.7, w6.3. 4.7)
 A teabowl with creamy body with finely crazed glaze. Curved outside edge to footrim. Inside of footrim has accumulation of crazed greenish glaze. Pattern similar to figures 26 and 28  in Ironside (1999). Suggest Rathbone (aj647, h54.6, w87.3, b (46.9) handle: h13.9,v26.7, w6.3. 4.7)  
 A cup with a Ridgway-style "loop" handle with two gentle kicks along the lower edge (group 1). Whitish body with dark spots and fine glaze crazing in places especially under foot. Inside of footrim has accumulation of crazed greenish glaze.  Similar to aj209 so suggest Rathbone?  (aj144, h57.5, w81.7, b 37.6 (42.6) handle: h13.8, v27.6, w6.4, 4.6)

Examples group 2 (larger handles)

 Larger Ridgway type handles with two gentle "kicks" on lower side, with a marked "elbow" and rounded upper and narrow, pointed lower attachment. These cups have higher pattern numbers and some are larger (84 to 85mm diameter) than group 1 cups.  


 Rathbone cup with a Ridgway-style "loop" handle with two gentle kicks along the lower edge (group 2).  The Broseley pattern here is flipped left to right so the pagoda is next to the handle instead of the bridge. SJR mark on base (see right). (aj735, h57.8, w85.7, b 40.4 (46) handle: h16.2 (20.4), v28.9, k28, w6.7, 4.8, t4.3) 
 A can with a Ridgway-style "loop" handle with two gentle kicks along the lower edge (group 2). Broseley pattern flipped left to right so the pagoda is next to handle. This pattern relates this can to cups with the SJR mark on other pieces (see right). Suggest Rathbone (a076, h57.7, w66.3, b (63.5) handle: h16.9 (20.9), v28.3, k28, w6.7, 5.4, t4.4) 
 A can with a Ridgway-style "loop" handle with two gentle kicks along the lower edge (group 2). Broseley pattern flipped left to right . Suggest Rathbone (aj478, h57.3, w68, b (64.8) handle: h17 (21.5), v30.4, k28.1, w6.4, 4.7, t4) 
 A cup with a Ridgway-style "loop" handle with two gentle kicks along the lower edge (group 2). Cup  marked with blue transfer R under a crown (6.7 mm high).   In this Broseley pattern, the men on the bridge carry a parasol and a crook.  Suggest Rathbone (aj641, h56.7, w83.9, b38.7 (44.3) handle: h17 (21.7), v29.5, k30, w6.8, 5.0) 
 A cup with a Ridgway-style "loop" handle with two gentle kicks along the lower edge (group 2). Cup  marked with blue transfer R under a crown (see above).   In this Broseley pattern, the men on the bridge carry a parasol and a crook.  Suggest Rathbone (a074, h56.1, w81.9, b37.9 (43.8) handle: h16.4 (20.9), v28.5, k28.5, w6.9, 5.0)   
 A cup with a Ridgway-style "loop" handle with two gentle kicks along the lower edge and narrow, pointed lower attachment (group2). No mark.   Wavy edge and lines in pink lustre. In this Broseley pattern the men on the bridge carry a parasol and a crook as in other R under crown cups.  Suggest Rathbone (aj399, h55.5, w85.5, b40.8 (46.1) handle: h16.2 (20.7), v28.6, k29.4, w6.9, 4.7)

 A cup with a Ridgway-style "loop" handle with two gentle kicks along the lower edge (group 2). Narrow, pointed lower attachment. Clear white body. Inside of  footrim curved with some greenish glaze. Blue lines on "knuckles" of kicks on handle (see right). A known  Rathbone pattern 108.  (aj265, h58.7, w85.5, b41.8 (47.1) handle: h15.7, v28.6, w6.9, 5.2, t4.7) (from Edgecomb, Maine, USA)

 A teabowl in clear white body. Footrim curves outwards. Decorated in pattern 108 as cup above (aj265). Suggest Rathbone (aj386, h54.1, w87.1, b (44.6) ) (from north east USA)

 A cup with a Ridgway-style "loop" handle with two gentle kicks along the lower edge (group 2). Narrow, pointed lower attachment. Slightly creamybody. . Lustre lines on "knuckles" of kicks on handle. Suggest Rathbone (aj667, h55.7, w82.7, b38.2 (41.3) handle: h16.9 (20.9), v28.3, w6.2, 4.5)

 A cup with a Ridgway-style "loop" handle with two gentle kicks along the lower edge (group 2). Narrow, pointed lower attachment. Clear white body. Inside of footrim curved and has accumulation of greenish glaze. Lustre lines on "knuckles" of kicks on handle. Suggest Rathbone (aj057, h57.4, w82.6, b40.7 (45.1) handle: h17.1, v29.3, w6.7, 4.9)

 A teabowl in clear white body. Footrim curves outwards.  Pattern same as on London shape teapot with 106 on base. Pattern on aj057 above similar but colours differ. Suggest Rathbone (a079, h55.7, w87.6, b (48.2) ) 

 A can with a Ridgway-style "loop" handle with two gentle kicks along the lower edge, with narrow, pointed lower attachment (group 2). Creamy body with finely crazed glaze. Blue line painted on one "knuckles"  on handle. Saucer with painted red 106. Suggest Rathbone. (aj475, h59.7, w69, b56.2 (65.3) handle: h16.4 (20.9), v30.9, k29.1, w6.5, 4.8, t4.4)  

  A can with a Ridgway-style "loop" handle with two gentle kicks along the lower edge, with narrow, pointed lower attachment (group 2). Creamy body with finely crazed glaze. Orange line painted on one "knuckles"  on handle. Suggest Rathbone. (aj714, h59.3, w69.2, b56.8 (66.7) handle: h17 (21.5), v29.8, k29, w6.6, 4.7, t4.3)  

 A cup with a Ridgway-style "loop" handle with two gentle kicks along the lower edge (group 2). Clear white body. Inside of footrim curved and has accumulation of greenish glaze. Blue lines on "knuckles" of kicks on handle.  Octagonal creamer in same pattern with 11 on base. Suggest Rathbone (aj224, h58.7, w84.5, b42.3 (46.1) handle: h17.5, v29.5, w6.7, 5.0)

 A cup with a Ridgway-style "loop" handle with two gentle kicks along the lower edge and narrow, pointed lower attachment  (group 2). (No marks on knuckles.) Bat print of country house. Creamy body with orange transparancy and finely crazed glaze. Inside of footrim curved and has accumulation of greenish glaze. Possibly Rathbone (aj325, h58.5, w83.7, b42.3 (46.7) handle: h16.4 (20.6), v28.7, w6.7, 4.9, t4.5)(from NE USA)

 A can with a Ridgway-style "loop" handle with two gentle kicks along the lower edge, with narrow, pointed lower attachment (group 2). Translucent white body. Lustre lines painted on "knuckles" of kicks on handle and comparison with fig 26 in Ironside (1999) suggest Rathbone. (aj251, h60.3, w68, b54.3 (63.9) handle: h16.0, v30.1, k29.2, w7, 4.9, t4.5)  


References

Berthoud, M (1990) "A Compendium of British Cups", Micawber Publications, Bridgnorth. Godden, GA. (1983) "Staffordshire Porcelain."  Granada. Harvey, I. (2005) "Rathbone" Harvey Publications, London.  Ironside, M. (1998) "Hicks and Meigh Porcelain of the 1813 - 1822 Period: Dessert Wares and Tea Wares." Morley College Ceramics Circle Bulletin, Series 3, (No: 1). Ironside, M. (1999) "Yellow Shells" North. Cer. Soc. Newsl. 113, 26-33.  Miller, P  (1983a) The 'R' marked porcelains. p468-470 in Staffordshire Pocelain. ed Godden, GA., Granada. Miller, P  (1983b) "The Rathbones of Tunstall" North. Cer. Soc. Newsl. 50, 32-37. Roberts, A (2004) Early Rathbone Teawares? NewHall and Friends Newsletter 7: 19-21.

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