What’s Happening in the Transferware Database?
April 2012: Database Discoveries
March 2011: Updated Instructions for Searching the Pattern Database
An updated version of instructions for using the Pattern Database is available to TCC members. Visit the "Full Search" dropdown link under "Pattern Database" on the homepage. Click on "Get Started" and get started!
February 2011: Searching for Those Long Pattern Titles
by Connie Rogers
"It occurred to me as I was reading the interesting articles by Michael Weinberg in the most recent TCC Bulletin regarding "The Great New York City Fire of 1835" that if members want to search the database and find the three patterns in the series, they will not find them if they search the title of the article." Read Connie's entire article about effective ways to search the pattern database.
Feb 2010: Milestone Pattern and
Source Print Database Achievement
On February 5, 2010, our expert staff of pattern editors reached a significant milestone: 5000 unique pattern records published in the club's Pattern and Source Print Database. And now, just a few days later, you will find 5033 patterns and 390 source print records available to support club members' interests. Our database project was launched in the second half of 2006. This extraordinary achievement is due to the dedication of our member volunteer editors, each an expert in their assigned pattern category. A Press Release, announcing this milestone achievement, can be found on our web site.
Congratulations to Connie Rogers, our Database General Editor, and the team of category editors that have made this possible!
November 2009: 4500 Patterns
By Connie Rogers
We reached 4500 patterns in the database at the end of October, and it has been a very fine cooperative effort on the part of 12 dedicated editors. It is important, I think, for TCC members, and visitors to the website to know who these people are and the category connected with each editor. These people are experts in their area who also consult reference books, websites and knowledgeable people who contribute information.
Our team is not only concerned with the quantity of patterns entered, but we are continually working on adding quality to the patterns already there. When a new issue of a bulletin, newsletter from a collector group, or a new book is published with information regarding transferware, we acquire more information, and we pass it on through the database. This of course, means more work for the editors. When a big important work comes out such as Margie Williams’ The Charm of English Pink, we have 400 pages of valuable photos and information. This is helpful when entering new patterns, but it is also a source for adding to the information already present in the database. There couldn’t be a better resource for information on Romantic Patterns in particular.
As you may be aware, there are many series of patterns in the database. Very few of these series are yet complete, but with the help of members with photos of their collections (and helpful eBay sellers) we are able to add to the number of patterns in each series. There are also many series that have different views on each piece in the service. We are attempting to document all of those views in the database as well as the colors in which they were printed. Members can help us by looking through patterns they own and sending us some of the missing links. Everyone in the club can be involved in this way. We thank you in advance. We appreciate your support!
The editors working in the TCC Database of Patterns continue to meet their goal of adding 100 patterns per month to the database. There are currently over 3600 patterns entered and documented for your perusal.
There is an exciting new Search Function that has been installed that we are pleased to announce. Members can now use a “Google-type” search of the Additional Information field for each pattern. On the Search page, under the “Name” position, you will find a new addition: “Additional Information”. You can type any word or words that you are interested in finding discussed in the Additional Information (AI).
The main reason we asked for a search of the AI is that we want to be as accurate as possible in attributing patterns to a specific maker. There are times when the existing documentation is not solid enough to make a firm commitment as to the maker of a particular pattern or series. In such cases, we list “Maker Unknown”. However, in the AI, a discussion will often follow that includes possible – and even probable makers for the pattern. In the case of initials, the mark may not be specific enough to point to one particular potter, so that several options will be given in the AI. With the new search option, you can type in the name of a pottery in the AI line, Click on Search, and you will have a list, including thumbnail photos of all patterns with that name found in the AI.
I typed ‘Davenport’ in the AI line and clicked on Search. 73 patterns came up with basic information and thumbnail photos. 9 out of 73 of the patterns had “Maker Unknown” in the information; however, Davenport was discussed in the AI in those patterns.
Perhaps you are interested in looking at how many times a specific shape is mentioned in the AI in the database. I tried typing ‘teapot’, and came up with 155 references – many of which had a teapot illustrated as the primary or secondary form of the pattern entered.
The two examples of searches mentioned use only the AI field to search. You can also restrict the search to a specific category and/or sub-category while using the AI search. For instance, if I search for teapots in the AI of only the American Theme patterns, there will be 23 patterns appear on the search. (Click on Categories, choose American Themes.) I am sure you will come up with many creative ways to use this new search function. Please let me hear from you, and let me know what you find.
The team of editors working in the pattern database had reached their goal of 3000 patterns entered by our Annual meeting in Williamsburg. We are continuing to add to that number with approximately 3270 at the time of this writing. Our goal continues to be to add 100 patterns per month.
Numbers aren’t the only criteria for adding to the database. Thanks to Kurt O’Hare, many dark and/or distracting backgrounds in the photos have been removed. I know I have personally sent him 200 or more photos that have been improved. Other editors are using his services as well.
We are pleased to have some new volunteers working with us since our October meeting. We now have editors for all the major categories in the database. After careful analysis and recommendations David Scriven has reworked the Literature and the Performing Arts Category so that it more accurately reflects patterns that belong in the various subcategories. He has also been building up the category by adding more patterns.
Louise Scriven has been studying the Floral and Botanical Category that has had a large number of patterns entered over the past two and one-half years. She has grouped the patterns in some new sub-categories that will make it possible for clearer distinctions in pattern entry in the Category. Ongoing work is being done at this time.
David Hoexter is continually building up the number of entries in his Advertising Category that is devoted to transfer-printed ads on pot lids and bottles in the 19th century.
It became apparent that a number of Importers and Retailers are represented in the database due to marks on various patterns. In some cases, the Importer/Retailer mark is the only mark found on a certain pattern, and in others, the mark appears in addition to the maker’s mark. We decided that it would be worthwhile for members to be able to search for these Importer/Retailer marks as another type of information we can provide. To that end, all those marks have been re-entered in a new Mark Type designated ‘Importers and Retailers’. There are currently 25 of these marks searchable in the database. To find this list, go to the Search page. Scroll down to ‘Makers and Marks’. Click on ‘Search by Type of Mark’. Then click on the arrow for the drop-down list of Types of Marks. Click on ‘Importers and Retailers’. Then scroll down to the “Search” box. Click on that and you will get pages of thumbnail photos of the patterns with Importers and Retailers marks.
We appreciate the support of the TCC to our project as evidenced by the enthusiasm of members at the Williamsburg meeting. An outpouring of photos for entry in the database has been encouraging as well.
As we have met our goal of 3,000 patterns entered in the Database before the annual Convention, I am proud of our team of editors for entering that quantity of patterns in just over two years time. I am also thinking again of how the quality of the pattern entry far surpasses what any of us could have expected. All but one of our category editors will be attending our convention in Williamsburg, and I know the members will want to thank them personally. However, our British editor, Dr. Colin Murray Parkes will be unable to travel from the U.K. For that reason, I want to thank him through this website for his outstanding contribution to the database over the past two years.
Colin is a past president of the Friends of Blue, the organization that was the inspiration for the formation of the TCC. Colin and his wife, Patricia, have collected over 700 different transferware patterns over the years, and have studied them all. As of this date, he has completed the entry of his personal collection of British Theme patterns (as well as entering many other patterns sent to him). In the last few weeks, he has embarked on the journey of entering the rest of the collection – pattern by pattern. All in all, by this date, Colin, himself has entered 425 patterns in the TCC database. The Additional Information he gives for the places and scenes have set a high standard for the rest of the editors as he gives descriptions of history, geography and personalities involved in each entry.
Recently, Colin did extra research on a very rare Musicians Series. He has prepared information regarding the other source names for each entry along with descriptions and type of piece on which each pattern was produced. Two of the patterns in the series can now be found in the database. His research is given in the Additional Information in Musicians i). It is in category Literature and Performing Arts/ Performing Arts.
We certainly do want to thank Colin for the extra effort he is putting forth as he continues to work in the TCC database of patterns. And we wish him success in his ongoing effort to enlist more of the FOB members in the project.
With 2460 patterns entered at June 1, the database continues to grow by leaps and bounds. We are closing in on our goal of having an editor for every category in the database. Our newest editor, Rita Robbins, in the Aesthetic Category has passed the 100 pattern entry milestone. Before she volunteered to help us, some patterns had been entered by various other editors, but she came in and got the sub-categories organized and is gradually building up an amazing array of Aesthetic transferware patterns.
Animal and Children Category
Judie Siddall has also entered more than 100 patterns in her Animal Category. She came in last fall with a fresh broom and cleared out the cobwebs in the corners and set up the category with dozens of Source Prints to compliment the pattern information. It is a joy to look through those Series with accurately named animals, including many that were previously unknown. Judie has also added patterns in many other categories since she has a lot of photos in her files, and is knowledgeable about many different areas. Her favorite “other” category seems to be Children’s Subjects. She truly enjoys entering those patterns. I share her interest, and I have entered a good number from Jack and Joyce Cockerill of York, England, who collect many children’s patterns, especially those from the Northeast potteries of the U.K. She and I have decided to serve as co-editors of the Children’s Subjects category.
American and European Themes
Len Kling has provided the database with more photos than any other TCC member, and all categories are represented by his contributions. In the last few months, he has increased his contributions to the database by writing some of the historical and geographic information for many of the American Themes patterns. Just recently he volunteered to be the editor of the European Themes (literal and imaginary) Category. We are pleased to have his further involvement as editor of that important category. He has already moved some non-European patterns out of the category and began his own pattern entry. His first pattern entered is Rome (Tiber) by Spode. Len’s interest in all areas of transferware and interest in places and history should serve him well as editor.
Floral and Botanical, Literature and Miscellaneous- Need Editors!
This leaves us with one BIG category that needs an editor – or editorial team. Floral and Botanical is a big category that already has 232 patterns. Work is needed to get it organized and determine whether or not changes need to be made in the sub-categories. Supervision is the key to having the patterns entered in a cohesive way in each category. Please consider giving us an hour of your time for several days a week to help develop the Floral and Botanical Category in the database!
The other empty categories are smaller: Literature, with 40 patterns covers Aesops Fables, the Bible and such stories as ‘Don Quixote’. It would not be so demanding, and the patterns are truly fascinating. The Arts has only 8 patterns entered. Perhaps this category is not well-defined enough and needs some tender loving care. There is also no one in charge of the Miscellaneous Category (40 patterns). The substance of that category will probably gradually evolve over time as the other categories obtain editors who can help us define the contents of each.
In the meantime, while these new editors are proving their value to the database, our more established editors continue to serve. Colin Parkes has enlisted other British collectors to provide more patterns in British Themes, including Arleen and Grahame Tanner who have been collecting transferware for over 45 years. The Tanners have also provided other editors in the database with interesting patterns.
DeeDee Dodd has been on sabbatical for the last few months, preparing one house to sell and another to move into as her husband approaches retirement this year. She plans to be back entering Romantic patterns in the near future.
Indian and Oriental
Michael Sack has entered some wonderful Indian and Oriental patterns from recent additions to his collection. He continues to delight us with the naïve hand-colored transfer outline patterns on porcelain by putting in a number of Hilditch patterns.
Unfortunately, Wes Palmer has had a fairly quiet few months as he has run out of patterns and has not been receiving many from collectors. It is amazing to think that we have more collectors of American Themes in the TCC than any other category, but the photos are not coming in from the collectors! We have been trying for over a year to arrange to have two large collections photographed with very little success. Finally, there seems to be an agreement on a date this month to get photos from one collector of rare and unusual patterns. That will be a big step forward for the database – and good news for Wes! Please look at your collections and see if all of your patterns are in the database. If not, get photos taken and send them in – we all need to help build up this category.
Managing the Technical End
Loren Zeller holds the database all together with his technical expertise and liaison with the developer. When the system slows down or problems arise of a technical nature, we alert Loren. At times he has the answer, but in other cases he intercedes on our behalf. When one of the editors gets a new idea on an improvement in the system or an added function to enhance what we are doing, it is Loren who has to analyze it and decide whether or not it is feasible before presenting it to the developer along with the question, How much will it cost?
So, there you have it. Our hope for the future is that each category will continue to grow and develop as sources for photos increase, and patterns are monitored and entered by a knowledgeable editor. I will continue to serve as general editor, overseeing pattern entry and helping editors with specific problems as they work. My job also includes adding to the TCC Bibliography, and updating the master list of marks in the database, and making corrections as they are needed. I also monitor the Predominant Features in an effort to improve the way that system serves in the Search function. The bottom line is that I do all I can to see that the information is set up in such a way as to enable members to search for and find the patterns that the editors are entering in this quickly growing research tool.
If you have any questions or wish to volunteer, please contact me email@example.com
I want to discuss two aspects of the work being done in the TCC Database by our editors.
1) Quantity of patterns
2) Quality of research and depth of information
Those of you who visit the TCC website regularly will be familiar with the messages to be found under Club News. The message of particular interest here is this one:
As of April 1, 2008, there are 2207 patterns in the database. 100 per month is the goal we are meeting with our current roster of editors. The numbers change monthly.
Quality of research and depth of information
Wes Palmer, editor of the American Themes category, has added another editor in the category: Len Kling, who helps supply historical perspective and information to the patterns. See American Themes/Highlands Hudson River for an example. Wes has been adding Source Prints to many of the patterns in the category. These have been kindly contributed by Margie J. Williams, author of American Historical English Pink. Some prints are in black and white, but others are in full color. See Water Works Philadelphia – Stevenson as well as the view by Jackson. The source print can be found in both entries.
Rita Robbins is becoming acclimated to the world of computers in general and the database in particular as she has begun adding patterns in the Aesthetic Category.
Colin Parkes, our editor for British Themes got intrigued with the Vermicelli pattern of Don Pottery. There are many small vignettes found in the pattern that are unnamed by any authors, including John Griffin who wrote the definitive book on Don Pottery. Colin has studied the various pieces illustrated in Griffin as well as in Coysh and Henrywood and various FOB Bulletins and has identified 12 different vignettes used in the Vermicelli pattern. Three of these vignettes are illustrated and discussed in British Themes/Rural and Genre. All 12 vignettes are documented in the information given in ‘Vermicelli – Don #1’.
Colin believes that one of the primary strengths in the TCC database is the number of unrecorded patterns that are now entered. This, more than anything else should attract researchers and collectors of transferware to the database.
The Database and beyond
Judie Siddall, our editor for Animal patterns has added many source prints for animals found in “Zoological Sketches” and the “Quadrupeds” Series, in particular. She also enters a lot of floral and children’s patterns in the database. In the current TCC Bulletin (Winter 2008) on page 4, you will read of the New Attribution Judie was able to make of Fruit and Flowers pattern to Davenport. The combination of an importer’s mark, a “hidden” Davenport impressed mark and finding a clearly marked Davenport example of Fruit and Flowers pattern already entered in the database by DeeDee Dodds gave Judie the support she needed to assign this previously unattributed pattern to Davenport. It is clearly a matter of “going the extra mile” for Judie to pull the information together to present her findings in the TCC Bulletin to share with our members.
Michael Sack has entered a number of the Chinoiserie Tea Patterns in the database that were featured in his lecture at the convention in Hartford in October. He will resume that activity later this spring after other commitments are cleared away.
Loren Zeller, our president and co-editor with me of the Chinoiserie category has recently prepared an interesting paper for publication in the Friends of Blue Bulletin from his research on The Chinese Raft pattern, a variation of the pattern and similar pattern: Chinese Raftman and Ruins. All three are entered in the database under Chinoiserie/Pictures with Chinese Influence.
Current Editors of the Database:
Aesthetic Patterns: Rita Robbins
American Themes: Wes Palmer, Len Kling
Animal Patterns: Judie Siddall
British Themes: Colin Parkes
Chinoiserie: Connie Rogers, Loren Zeller
Indian and Oriental: Michael Sack
Romantic Themes: DeeDee Dodd
The Arts, Children’s Subjects, European Themes, Floral and Botanical
Any questions? Photos to send? Volunteer?
Please contact me anytime: Connie Rogers, General Editor
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