Boer War Souvenir Bowl

At the turn of the twentieth century there was money to be made in designing and selling transfers to small scale pottery manufacturers who could then apply them to plain white china items and sell them as souvenirs. This leads to the odd situation where the same decoration appears on multiple different styles of chinaware and from different manufacturers. The Boer War was obviously a good source of revenue for these firms and today we are looking at a bowl with a popular design on it:

This bowl is approximately ten inches across and is probably from the cheaper end of the business as it lacks any manufacturer’s marks on the reverse. Sadly its suffered over the years and has a couple of large cracks, but it is 120 years old!

The design on the bowl is rather fanciful and depicts one of the naval guns used at Ladysmith on a Percy Scott carriage. The rating and soldier in khaki are pretty accurate to the uniform and equipment worn during the Boer War, but quite what a guardsman in red Home Service dress with his busby is doing in the illustration is anyone’s guess:

These sort of items were sold for just a few pennies and were lapped up by the working classes who had few opportunities to buy luxury items before the age of mass production. It is nice to think of this bowl displayed proudly on the mantlepiece of an Edwardian family’s living room, a small token of both their growing disposable income and their patriotism.

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