A Very Large Gildea & Walker Staffordshire Punch Bowl c.1885


Origin: English
Period: Late Victorian
Provenance: Unknown
Date: c.1885
Diameter: 18.5 inches (at maximum)
Height: 9.5 inches

The transfer decorated pottery bowl with its interior decorated with four drunken Bacchic putti beneath a frieze of other frolicking and drunken Bacchic putti, the similarly decorated exterior raised on an elaborate sea life base moulded with three figural dolphins, shells, weed and coral, the base impressed marked ‘1/6 85’ for June 1885 surviving from the last quarter of the nineteenth century.

The condition of the bowl is fair. There is wear to the sea life base, and a breakage at some stage with three cracks on the bowl with one area of chipped loss to the inner bowl and some discoloration. It has beautiful crazing to the whole and the colours remain quite bright and there are no major losses. It could still be used as intended and remains sound structurally.

The company, Bates, Gildea and Walker were in operation between 1878 to 1881 at the Dale Hall Works, Longport, Burslem, Stoke-on-Trent. Prior to this, the company was called Bates, Walker & Co (1875-78) and subsequently, it became Gildea and Waler (1881-85). Items by Gildea and Wilder are often intricately patterned and hard to find. This piece can be seen in British Pottery by Geoffrey A. Godden, page 268.

June in 1885 in England saw the Niger River basin becoming a British protectorate and William Ewart Gladstone's Liberal government being defeated in a vote of no confidence with Robert Cecil, Marquess of Salisbury forming a new Conservative government. Also in the same month there was the Clifton Hall Colliery disaster: an explosion killing 178 in Salford whilst Lord Randolph Churchill became Secretary of State for India.

Very punchy indeed...