- The Benthall Pottery Company produced a range of art pottery with distinctive Iznik-style decoration (pottery made in the town of Iznik, ancient Nicea, northern Turkey, c.1475–1700).
- Western European collectors first became aware of Iznik pottery in the second half of the nineteenth century, when pieces collected on the eastern Mediterranean island of Rhodes entered national collections.
- Thinking the pieces had actually been made on Rhodes, collectors and manufacturers adopted the name “Rhodian” or, more loosely, “Persian ware”, for this style.
- The Benthall Pottery Company named its range of Iznik-style pieces “Rhodian”, in keeping with the prevailing nineteenth century belief.
- Decoration is hand-incised into the body of the piece, cutting through the surface slip. Evidence for this comes from comparing pieces with the same shape and pattern, which reveals differences in the incised lines (i.e. lines in different places, and occasional missing lines). If the patterns were moulded, there would be no differences. The outline pattern may have been applied by stencilling or pouncing, the decorator then incising along the lines.
- Typical Salopian Rhodian patterns include geometric designs and stylised floral designs, some with Iznik-influenced tulips (?) and “saz” leaves (long, slender, curved, serrated leaves), as in pattern No.2A. All were glazed in polychrome glazes, often against a yellow ground.
- Pieces were marked with either a freehand script incised mark (Salopian Rhodian), with or without a pattern number, or with a simple impressed SALOPIAN mark.
- Two rare pieces have been found with a “hybrid mark” bearing the ship of the Della Robbia Pottery, Birkenhead, and the word “Salopian” within the ship’s sail. These pieces are considered to be products of the Benthall Pottery Company.
- A small unmarked charger appeared on eBay UK in 2009 with the unique mark “C.D 1895”. An indentical piece has been recorded with the Salopian Rhodian incised script mark (Edmundson 2002), enabling an attribution to the Benthall Pottery Company to be made.
- Salopian Rhodian pieces are dated to the 1890s, when the fashion for “Persian ware” was at its height.
- Known pattern numbers are: 1, 1A, 2A, 2B, 5, 6, 8, 12, 13, 14, 17.
- Confusingly, pattern numbers are inconsistent:
– Number 1 is found on two small chargers with different patterns;
– Numbers 1A and 2A are found on two large chargers with identical patterns (2A is the more frequently seen.
- Other pattern numbers are presumed to exist within the sequence but are yet to be identified. If other numbers and patterns do exist, salopianartpottery.co.uk would be very interested to learn of them. Please use thecontact formto get in touch.