Set of Six Prodigal Son Creamware Plates

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Set of six Prodigal Son scallop edge creamware plates featuring cold painted decoration with floral borders, Dutch titles and 18th century period scenes.
England or Netherlands, with Dutch decoration, 1760 – 1785.

This set of six creamware plates feature cold painted decoration of the story of the Prodigal Son. The scenes of figures in 18th century clothing are copied from the popular design created by Sébatien Leclerc II (1676-1763) and printed by René Gaillard (c.1719-1790) in Paris, France in 1751. The decoration was likely painted in the Netherlands as each plate is titled in Dutch as follows; Zyn Úittogt, Zyn Maaltyt, Zyn Vreúgt, Zyn Drofheid, Zyn Erfdeel and Zyn Beroúw.

Want to know more about cold painted decoration?  The history of cold painted decoration in Dutch ceramics is discussed in “Cold Painting in Red” by Aronson Delftware, which can be found at The authors note that the wide variety of colors used in Delft ceramics often included several firings in the kiln. However, some colors were very difficult to achieve in the kiln, particularly the elusive color red. One solution was to apply an oil base paint to the surface. This may have been used just for the red coloration or for entire decoration in hues of yellow, blue and red. Once the objects were fired with a clear glaze the painted decoration was applied and the piece was not fired again. The reduced number of firings allowed the prices of the finished products to be lowered and offered an economical option. However, the technique was met with suspicion by the Delftware industry and the public consumer alike. Although less expensive, the painted decoration tended to discolor or quickly wear off. The industry was concerned that this lesser quality product would damage their reputation for high quality craftsmanship and goods, leading to a limited production of cold painted Delftware. It also has been suggested that the early 20th century preference for white Delftware led many cold painted items to have their decoration removed. Both of these factors contribute to their rarity and the limited number of cold painted ceramics that survive to this day.