Thursday, August 27, 2009

Treasure Chest Thursday--Rhine Cake Plate

In the early 1960's, when my paternal grandparents, George and Sarah VanGilder Hughes (aka Pop Pop and Grams), were retiring to St. Petersburg, Florida, trash barrels loaded with family memorabilia were lined up on the tree lawn outside 71 North Bryant Street in Bellevue, Pennsylvania.

My mother tells of various family members driving to Bellevue and digging through the trash, saving, what have now become, valuable pieces of the Hughes Family history. Grams wanted to make a fresh start in Florida and as the English say, she was going through the apartment with "a dose of salts" :-)

My Mom grabbed various old plates and brass candlesticks, which were proudly displayed in our new home on Bramble Lane. Those family treasures are now in my possession and have been slowly dispersed among my cousins as wedding gifts, keeping them in the Hughes Family.

The cake plate shown above is from the 1780-1800 period. I have no idea if it came from West Hartlepool, England with my great grandparents, John George and Elizabeth Olesen Hughes or if it was carried from Morgantown, West Virginia to the Pittsburgh area by my great grandmother, Jessie Pool VanGilder, and given to her daughter, my Grandmother Hughes. My educated guess is that it was in a trunk that crossed the "pond" from England.

Documentation on the plate has been taken from the Coysh and Henrywood book, The Dictionary of Blue and White Printed Pottery 1780-1800, Volume I. Rhine, a name given to romantic patterns used in Victorian times. They were usually printed in grey, but blue examples have been recorded by Thomas Fells & Company, J.T. Hudden, David Lockhard & Company and the Middlesbrough Pottery Company. The title is usually printed in a c-scroll cartouche. Middlesbrough designs are marked with a bridge.

W. W. Coysh and R.K. Henrywood, The Dictionary of Blue and White Printed Pottery: 1780-1880, Volume I, Antique Collector's Club, 1982.


  1. 1800? And gramma tossed it out! Oh, my, should we cry or do a happy dance that mom retrieved. Nice blog, again, great photos, you inspire me to do more photography with fresh outlook as to composition, etc. Thanks for sharing this, great blog entry!

  2. You know I through out some things that my mother had and I really regret it now. Some times we are just not thinking ahead.
    How great that this even survived all that time.

  3. Oh my gosh look at what I wrote. I was doing two things at once.
    Of course I meant to say "threw" out some things.

  4. Carol, I don't think my Grandmother even considered the fact, she probably didn't know...just another old plate! She got rid of everything from England...she did NOT like her mother-in-law and when Great Grandma Hughes died, her stuff was thrown out. And Lori, wine so early in the day....LOL

  5. What a treasure! I know my grandparents have tossed some things that I would have loved, but some people just don't love old things the way we do. Now if I could just get a little inspiration to clean up the real junk around here...

  6. I have a question. My mother is in the process of moving and was going through some of her old plates, and we came across a dinner plate with the exact same picture as the one posted above. Same color and patter and everything. Has the Rhine stamp in the back as well. Just wondering is it worth anything?

  7. my aunt has a plate that has "rhine" stamped on the back. she got it from a great aunt from her fathers side that had been passed down im not sure how many generations. our entire family is portuguese as far back as we know (from the acores islands). were trying to find out where the plate may have originally come from. any suggestions??