On View: Luce Visible Storage and Study Center, 5th Floor
Porcelain with hand-painted decoration
1 1/8 x 9 x 9 in. (2.9 x 22.9 x 22.9 cm) (show scale)
On front, in bouge near sitter's arm: "JMF 1875"
On back painted in gray: "8 / a / Philosopher / J. M. Falconer / pinxt / made...... / Union Porcelain Wor... / ... L.I. / Decr. 6/75"
In the rim, at bottom: "BROOKLYN. L.I."
Gift of Emma and Jay Lewis
Plate, porcelain. Simple circular plate with sloping rim. Hand-painted over-glaze decoration. In center of plate is the profile, head-and-shoulders figure of a bald, bearded man in black coat, seated in a chair with red upholstery, barely visible at left, on mottled peach ground. Plate rim outlined on inner and outer edge in black and mottled gray band between. In the band, at bottom: "BROOKLYN. L.I."
CONDITION: Some minor wear to painted surfaces. Inscription on reverse very worn and partially illegible.
John Mackie Falconer (American, 1820-1903). Plate, ca. 1875. Porcelain with hand-painted decoration, 1 1/8 x 9 x 9 in. (2.9 x 22.9 x 22.9 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of Emma and Jay Lewis, 1992.163.2. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 1992.163.2_bw.jpg)
overall, 1992.163.2_bw.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph
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Please tell me about this plate.
The plate itself was manufactured in Brooklyn at the Union Porcelain Works which was the largest porcelain manufacturer in America. The decoration around the rim and profile "philosopher" figure in the center were actually hand painted, likely by a professional or amateur artist. This kind of of china painting was quite common at the time. Artists would purchase white plates, referred to as "blanks," and then hand paint them. This type of object would likely have been displayed in the home as art, rather than being used as a functional plate to eat from.