Red Wing Plate

Picked this up at estate auction – and am no pottery expert. I have my doubts about the piece for three reasons: 1. the crazing on the underside appears to be older than the paintig on the front side, 2. I can’t find it on any of the Red Wing websites, 3. There are wall hanger indentions (like it was hung before the paint dried) on the plate. PLEASE HELP .. don’t want to sell it on ebay if it is not real !! Peg

Answer: Peg, I’m not going to be able to give you a definitive answer because I don’t have enough to work with. The photos are helpful but too tiny to get good close-up view of the plate’s details. But here are a few clues and tips.

I’ve no doubt the plate is an authentic Red Wing, but I can’t be sure about the artwork. It’s certainly not from any of the established dinnerware patterns. It could be a test plate or a lunch hour piece if the artwork is under the glaze. Or it could be a standard plate that was cold painted by its owner (painted over the original glaze). I can’t determine from the photos how the artwork was applied.

The plate is from the Provincial dinnerware line. Patterns in this line are Orleans, Brittany, Ardennes and Normandy. Your statement that the plate has wall hanger indentations tells me this is a 14" platter. These hanger holes are original and authentic. In the early 1940s Red Wing designer Charles Murphy used 14" Provincial platters with hanger holes in the foot ring to produce a series of art pieces featuring African caricatures. These were definitely intended to be hung as wall decor, not used as dinnerware. The African series did not sell well and was soon dropped. The remaining supply of undecorated platters with the hanger holes was used to produce standard dinnerware platters — turn over a 14" Orleans or Brittany platter and you’ll occasionally find one with the holes in the foot ring.

One of your photos shows the back of the platter. There appear to be slight splotches of color along the rim, as if a bit of paint slopped over the side while the front was being painted. If that assessment is correct, most likely this is a standard platter that was cold painted by its owner. If the color can be scraped off (try a small area along the rim), then it has been painted over the glaze. If the artwork cannot be scraped off, then it must be under the glaze and was most likely done at the Red Wing factory. If the artwork is authentic Red Wing the platter would be worth several hundred dollars. If the platter has been cold painted over the original glaze, it’s worth only a few dollars. My hunch is it’s been cold painted but I really can’t be certain.