Mulberry ware

CY.P.4.1, Mulberry ware dinner plate, Corea pattern (an idealized landscape), one of five.

The dinner plate above was made by J. Clementson in its “Corea” (or Korea) transfer printed pattern, likely around 1845.  It was made for export in the Staffordshire complex in England, called mulberry ware because of its purple hue.

This artifact comes from an excavation conducted at 310 Cypress Street during the 1970s by Ellen and David Miller.  The deposit, which was a communal privy for a multi-family dwelling, dates from the 1840s through the 1860s.

William Stiles House, 310 Cypress Street, Philadelphia, Philadelphia, PA. Photo courtesy of the the Historic American Buildings Survey (HABS).

Workers and their families lived, and sometimes worked, in tenant housing like that at 310 Cypress, which was very popular among Philadelphia’s burgeoning immigrant population during the 19th century.  The Cypress street families came from Ireland and from Bavaria and their occupations included a shoemaker, a lamp maker, two tailors,  a seamstress, and a printer.  This dinner plate is one of a set of five which were found after being discarded in the shared privy.

The maker’s mark printed on the back of the plate, shown above, identifies the manufacturer more closely.  Ironstone is a type of durable stoneware marketed to 19th century households as a strong porcelain substitute.  The phoenix motif indicates the Phoenix works, the factory in Hanley, England where the plate was made.  Below the phoenix are the remains of “COREA”, the name of the transfer printed pattern.

To see more pieces like this, visit The Center for the Humanities at Temple (CHAT) on the 10th floor of Gladfelter Hall where the exhibit Excavating Desire: Tastes and Tablewares in Early to Mid-19th-Century Philadelphia is still on view.

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