A Roses but not Castles Tray

Long time readers of our blog may recall that I posted about the origin of Roses and Castles decoration way back in 2008 when I came across a blue underglaze plate with a scene reminiscent of the traditional Roses and Castles. Having read Tony Lewery's two books on canal boat painting (Narrow Boat Painting and Flowers Afloat) I have been aware for some time of his hypothesis that the inspiration for the style came from not only Victorian pottery decoration and but also Jappaned goods. I was therefore delighted when the other day we got a present of a decorated metal tray that our daughter Lucy had picked up at antique fair in West London. She described it on the phone as being "a bit like Roses and Castles". When we got it we found it had all the hallmarks of the traditional Roses and Castles style - but minus the castles. It is probably what is described as Toleware.

Our painted metal tray

The tray is just over a foot in diameter and has a dark green ground that is similar to many of the shades used on narrowboats. The flower decorations are very similar to that found on traditional canal boat decoration and the roses in the centre are painted are clearly painted in the same manner with confident sweeping brush strokes. The perforated edge to the tray shows signs of gold paint. We have no idea as to its age (or even its country of origin) but we think its a very pretty item. If could be old, that is Victorian, and this would certainly reinforce the theory put forward by Tony Lewery since the painting technique is so similar.