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Caneware Game pie dish - 1869

Caneware game pie dish, ©  Wedgwood Museum
    Caneware game pie dish
    © Wedgwood Museum

A deep covered ceramic receptacle, usually made of caneware, oval or circular in form and made to resemble piecrust. These dishes often had raised bas-relief ornaments of dead game and vine leaves, and the finial was often of a hare or vegetable such as a turnip.

During the late eighteenth and early nineteenth century the Etruria factory evolved a number of ‘devices’ for use on the table. These included decorative pieces intended to please the eye such as ornamental jelly moulds; or the more functional game pie dishes, made of caneware. Caneware’s colour and appearance of was perfect for these dishes as it emulated the appearance of a real pastry piecrust. The pie’s meat filling would be served in these dishes, giving the illusion of a ‘real’, though extravagantly decorated, pie. This conceit meant that game pie dishes came into their own in times of flour famine or shortages.

  • Type of object: Useful ware/game pie and casserole dishes
  • Mark: WEDGWOOD
    [Impressed on base]
    NOX N 1212
    [Impressed on base]
  • Year produced: 1869
  • Body: caneware
  • Material: ceramic
  • Decoration: moulded, ornamented
  • Accession number: 3661, 3661a, 3661b
  • Dimensions: 178 mm (height), 313 mm (width), 233 mm (depth)

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  • Caneware


    Caneware is a dry-bodied stoneware, perfected from local North Staffordshire clays which does not require glazing. It ranges in colour from a rich tan-yellow through to buff. Wedgwood commenced work on this body in the early 1770s, and on 9 September 1771 he was able to write to Thomas Bentley: ‘I am very happy to know the Fawn colour'd articles are agreeable to your wishes, - I believe they will sell, for all who have seen them here, have fall'n in love with them'.

    Caneware was used for both Ornamental and Useful pieces, many of which were decorated in imitation of bamboo. Major pieces do not seem to have been produced until 1779,  as late as 1783 this new body was still presenting production problems and it was not until the summer of 1786 that the new body was totally established. The problem was resolved when a finer-ground body was produced, which could be enhanced by the addition of bas relief ornamentation, encaustic painting, or - from the early years of the nineteenth century onwards - by the combination print and enamel patterns which later became known as 'Capri' ware. A rather coarser cane body was also used for game pie dishes and pastry dishes. It first appeared in the 1787 edition of the Catalogue of Ornamental Wares, when it was the fifth in Wedgwood's list of ceramic bodies.