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Caneware Game pie dish - After 1843

Caneware Game pie dish, Photography M.Coupe, © Wedgwood Museum
    Caneware Game pie dish, Photography M.Coupe
    © Wedgwood Museum

Game pie dishes are deep covered ceramic receptacles which are oval or circular in form and usually made of caneware 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.

Game pie dishes are deep covered ceramic receptacles which are oval or circular in form and usually made of caneware 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. This example features an ornamented vine border. The cover has a cauliflower knop. The underside of the cover shows that the knop is hollow and has a firing hole so that the item fired easily and was not lost in the kiln. The item has a clear glaze on the interior of the base only. This design of game pie dish first appears in Wedgwood's 1843 catalogue.

  • Type of object: Useful ware/game pie and casserole dishes
  • Mark: WEDGWOOD
    L
    [Impressed]
  • Year produced: After 1843
  • Body: caneware
  • Material: ceramic
  • Decoration: moulded, ornamented
  • Accession number: 5488
  • Dimensions: 187 mm (length), 140 mm (width), 75 mm (height of base), 105 mm (approximate height with cover)

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Glossary

  • Cane ware

    Cane ware

    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'.

    Cane Ware 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.