research and learning

"Illustrations of the Bible" series (Thomas Mayer)

Henrywood's Highlights
Transferware from a British Perspective

Number One of an Ongoing Series by Dick Henrywood

One of the main objectives of the TCC is the assembly and dissemination of information about transferware. The various available reference books have made great strides in this and the new club database promises to be a magnificent resource, but it soon becomes obvious that there are many gaps in our knowledge. The purpose of this new column, which we hope might become a regular feature, is to prompt members to send in information which might help to extend our knowledge. I have decided to make a start with a series of views from the early romantic period in the 1830s which can be found in several different colours.

“Illustrations of the Bible” Series

A series of landscape illustrations of the Holy Land made by Thomas Mayer of Longport, before his move to Stoke in about 1835, is the subject of this discussion. The information available in The Dictionary of Blue & White Printed Pottery is rather sketchy, largely because the series is quite uncommon in Britain but also because it was made predominantly in colours other than blue, particularly purple, red and green. As reported in the Dictionary, the source for the views was the Rev. Thomas Hartwell Horne’s book Landscape Illustrations of the Bible with engravings by the Finden brothers after drawings by several eminent artists of the day, including J. M. W. Turner, J. D. Harding and Clarkson Stanfield. The following views have been recorded:

“Flight into Egypt” *

Plate 5 in

“Foot of Mount Sinai” *

Plate 7.4 in

Illustrations: Williams 1/296 and 1/741 (green shallow bowl and printed mark)

“Fords of the Jordan”

Platter 15.5 in

“Fountain of Elisha at Jericho"

Plate 9.3 in

Illustrations: Williams 2/590 (purple plate and printed mark)

“Holy Sepulcher” *

            Plate 8.25 in


Platter 17.5 in
Platter 10 in

“The Ruined Temples at Philoe”

Platter 1 3in

“Tomb of Absolom, Village of Siloam the Brook, Kedron”

Dinner plate 10.5 in

Illustrations: Williams 1/296 (purple plate); FOB131 (blue plate and printed mark)

Bible series mark thumbnail
(mark -- click to enlarge)

It can be seen from this list that our knowledge is nowhere near complete, with only five sizes of plates and four platters included above. I have been unable to confirm the titles marked with an asterisk, so confirmation of these would be welcome. It was obviously a complete dinner service so we need information about all the missing items, various larger platters, the tureens, even the soup plate. And, we are woefully lacking in illustrations of the various views (I can only offer an example of a mark from the series).  Can you help? Any photos and additional information would be gratefully received and will be reported in future Bulletins. Contributions should be sent to Dick Henrywood (email:

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