Winter in Old Prussia

by Jim Kempster

Handled cake plate, 11" diameter mold A9 with winter scene of a woman returning home with Christmas tree on back of horse.

Handled cake plate, 11" diameter mold A9 with man gathering firewood at edge of forest with rural church in background.

Handled cake plate, 11" diameter mold A9 with woman walking dogs along a snow covered road.

Handled cake plate 11" diameter mold A9 with deer drinking from stream at the edge of forest in winter. Firewood is piled at the left.

Sometime around 1890, Reinhold Schlegelmilch introduced the use of outline transfer scenes on his porcelain. This date is supported by the number of examples of these scenes at appear on mold A 9, a mold that is known to have been used prior to 1890 because of examples with the large applied dot décor that was discontinued in 1889.(see R. S. Prussia: The Formative Years by Leland and Carol Marple, page 41 plate 144)

The fall 1890 Butler Brothers catalog shows that outline transfer scenes with birds were being used, particularly on shaving mugs.(see article "The Early Birds") In this article, we will look at a series of winter scenes that appear on RS porcelain.

Why winter scenes? Where are the other three seasons? The answer may lie in Reinhold's marketing scheme. Each year, the new line of products in RS porcelain was introduced during the Christmas gift buying season. Perhaps these nostalgic winter landscapes were designed to appeal to the Victorian public's notion of "Christmas in the country." The best known series of rustic rural images used on RS porcelain are "The Old Mill", "The Country Cottage", and the "The Old Monastery" (usually called the castle or village scene by RS collectors). The Victorians were very sentimental folk.

Bowl with open loop border, 8.5" by 6" same mold as bowl below, deer resting at edge of forest in winter, with a pile of firewood at the left.

Bowl with open loop border, 12" by 8.5" mold not numbered, winter scene with man on horseback, followed by dog, riding along snowy road towards village.

These scenes all use the outline transfer technique, with the colors being applied by artists. There are probably more scenes in this series that have yet to be identified.

Copyright 2009-2012 Jim Kempster