Belleek marks dating
It is speculative but there does seem to be a pattern and that the colour referred to the body of the piece and when it was made…but it is not that simple as what the colours referred to changed as the pottery became more established.It appears the first colour was the true blue mark and then a red colour on parian which may refer to the yellowish glaze and high lustre glaze found on such pieces.This list of an early collection of Belleek contrasts with the registered designs of Belleek, the earliest of which were registered in September 1868.The above catalogue list is a special selection of the earliest designs mainly based on seashells.Given the time lag of collecting, writing and producing the book the items listed must have come from the early and mid 1860s.The list gives a description of the items and any trademark markings.
Some of these items are extremely interesting and will feature in forthcoming articles. Mug in white porcelain with glaze of feeble lustre; a six-sided body ornamented with vine and ivy in relief, satyr’s mask under spout, and rustic handle; mark, printed in brown, a round tower, harp, dog and shamrock, with word BELLEEK. Tazza, in cream-coloured porcelain, partly glazed, with ribbed body and pair of snake handles; mounted on pedestal ornamented with garlands and festoons of raised flowers pendent from rams’ heads; impressed mark in Irish characters.This leads to considering as to whether they are in fact of Irish origin whilst still accepting this is as they are described.What is clear is that the potter’s marks and all impressed marks were made with forethought as the mould was being made but the different coloured backstamps seem to refer to a type of decoration or glaze after the piece had been fired.Another potter’s mark on an Ivy spill just visible above the harp Other colours and markings used for Belleek backstamps There is a wealth of colours used on parian for the backstamp such as blue, red, brown and black.Illustrations of early Belleek backstamps in different colours.
Some idea of what was produced in the early days can be gleaned from ‘A Catalogue of British Pottery and Porcelain’, 1871 as published by the Museum of Practical Geology.