Antiques column - Views from the seats of UK noble men

Michael Dowse of Dowse and Son Auctioneers.
Michael Dowse of Dowse and Son Auctioneers.

The ‘Crown, Acorn and Oak Leaf’ series is so named for its border of oak leaves and acorns and the crown on the backstamp, above the name of the place illustrated.

The collection contains 22 named views but there are many unmarked ones too and these locations are often identified by enthusiastic collectors and dealers. For example, the pickle dish (or spoon rest) left unmarked but discovered to be Worsted House from J Preston Neale’s book of engravings “Views of the Seats of Noblemen and Gentlemen in England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland”, where many examples in the series can be found.

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John Meir designed this border series in the Tunstall area of Staffordshire in the period after 1820. Ralph Stevenson produced a very similar series which can be differentiated by fewer acorns in the border and the lack of a crown in the backstamp.

Each size of plate depicts a different scene but all contain the same border making it a true ‘serial’ pattern. It may appear that the pieces don’t match, but it was intended this way. Although most items in the collection have individual engravings, some in the series are shared between different shapes.

An example of this is the scene of Balborough Hall in Derbyshire found both on the dessert comport and a soup plate.

This series would not be described as rare but at the same time it is unlikely to have been made in large quantities which can make it difficult to find.