research and learning

#16 - A Scottish Mystery

Sack, Michael

A simple question from a friend, a retired historian, has set off a chain of research and highlighted a mystery. My friend saw on eBay a 2-7/8” plate titled “Indian Chiefs” (Figure 1) and asked me if I knew of a source print for it. It was made by John Thomson at the Annfield Pottery in Scotland, which was active 1826 to 1883. I told him that the pattern was in the TCC database without a source print, but his curiosity as a historian drove him to do some research on his own. To my surprise, he found not a print, but another source for the pattern. The pattern seems to be derived from the coat of arms of the Bank of Montreal, shown here on one of the bank’s newer buildings (Figure 2). It could also have appeared in a print. An internet search produces several variations on the coat of arms, none exactly like that on the plate.

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