Soup plate, 'Australian flora' series, creamware, transfer printed and hand painted decoration adapted from designs by Helena Forde, Australia, 1879, made by Wedgwood, England, 1882, owned by Richard Duppa Lloyd, England, c. 1883, then by Australian descendants, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, 1918-2011
No records survive in the Wedgwood archives to shed the light on the origin of the 'Australian Flora' creamware dinner services which were made by this leading English ceramics factory between 1879 and 1883. In addition to dinner, soup and entree plates, these services incorporated large meat and serving platters, sauce boats and soup and vegetable tureens. Individual pieces survive is several Australian and British collections and five dinner services in the series are known to have been made: it is believed that one is Belgium and one in Scotland and three sets have been located in Australia - one in Quensland, one in Melbourne - consisting of 45 pieces and of an unconfirmed origin, and one for 12 people acquired about 1883 by Richard Duppa Lloyd in England . R D Lloyd was a well travelled English engineer and art connoisseur who had also lived in Sydney between 1868 and 1873.
This plate (and a platter and four plates forming part of this acquisition) is from the Lloyd dinner service which was passed on - most likely after R D Lloyd┬?s death - to his nephew Charles Campbell Lloyd. Captain Campell Lloyd brought the service with him to Sydney after WW1 where it was treasured and probably used only on special occasions. Clearly its rarity and historical significance were well appreciated, as he donated three plates to the New South Wales Applied Arts Trust (now part of this Museum┬?s collection: 182a) in 1927. The remaining pieces were inherited by family members and dispersed across Australia with this platter and several other items remaining in Sydney. Most components of the Lloyd service, the only one with full history of ownership, seem to be still surviving.
In addition to 32 pattern numbers (corresponding with different numbers and combinations of flowers) known from Wedgwood's pattern books for this series, three A3-size sheets with 12 painted designs of Australian flowers have also been recently located. While the plants' arrangements, combinations and colours do not correspond exactly to the actual prints found on the pieces from the series (note the violet colouring of the Native Fuchsia), they were definitely the source of 'Australian Flora' decorations. More recent research has revealed that these designs were adapted from a series of 24 lithographed post cards issued in 1879 by the Sydney publisher Turner & Henderson to designs provided by Helena Forde and Harriet Scott, renowned Australian natural science collectors and illustrators. However, only Helena Forde's designs (first 12 cards from the set of 24) were adapted by Wedgwood for this series.
Interestingly, the production of the series coincided with the opening of Sydney showrooms of Wedgwood┬?s agent Thomas Webb & Sons in 1881 who offered 'Australian Flora' for sale. Whether a result of a special commission by a private individual with an interest in Australia (Richard Duppa Lloyd?) or by an agent, the ┬?Australian Flora┬? must have also been Wedgwood┬?s early attempt to test the Australian market. With all pieces unique in their floral arrangements and individually hand painted, these wares must have been expensive. The rarity of the surviving services suggests that the market proved to be limited.
Eva Czernis-Ryl, 2011
J A Adeney, A O Landis, 'Australian Flora: Wedgwood dinner services for the Australian market?', The Australian Wedgwood Society of New South Wales Review, no 2, 2001, pp 17-26.
Impressed mark 'AKI' (part of Wedgwood's dating system introduced mainly for earthenware in 1860) indicates production of blank in 1880.
The decoration on the platter is adaped from designs by Helena Forde, Australia, 1879.
From dinner service originally owned by Richard Duppa Lloyd in England, then by Charles Campbell Lloyd who brought the entire dinner service to Australia after WW1. From about 1927 this platter was owned by the Lloyd family in Sydney and eventually by Marion and David Lloyd (brother and sister) in Sydney.
See 182A for 3 plates from the same service in the Powerhouse Museum collection.