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Q: British antique whiteware ( Answered 5 out of 5 stars,   3 Comments )
Subject: British antique whiteware
Category: Miscellaneous
Asked by: hrlady-ga
List Price: $10.00
Posted: 20 Nov 2003 11:01 PST
Expires: 20 Dec 2003 11:01 PST
Question ID: 278637
I want to know where I can purchase an item that I viewed in the April
2003 issue of the British magazine 'Period Living & Traditional Homes'
on page 125.
This item was described as a dairy slab by Parnall & Son, and had the words
PURE BUTTER on it.  I'm new to using the internet, and have tried searching for
every Keyword that I can think of from British antiques, whiteware, ironstone,
Maling whiteware, Bridgewater, Burleigh Ware, etc. etc. etc....all with no luck.
Please help!  Thank You much....
Subject: Re: British antique whiteware
Answered By: journalist-ga on 20 Nov 2003 12:01 PST
Rated:5 out of 5 stars
Greetings Hrlady:

Success! I have located what I believe is your item and I'd like to
show you how I arrived at your answer.

From a search of "Parnall & Sons" I found only one item: A postal
scale at

There is also a general blurb about a "Parnell & Sons" as general
merchants at
that reads in part:
"John Parnall, Sr., of the firm of Parnall & Sons, general merchants
of Colchester, is a native of England, being born there in 1818.  He
was there married to Eliza Williams, in August, 1843. They were the
parents of seven children. William Parnall, their eldest son, was born
in England in 1846, and died in Colchester, McDonough county, June 11,
1881; Richard J. Parnall was, also, born in England, on the 8th day of
May, 1860, and was married November 19, 1884, to Ella F. Shirley, a
native of Saginaw, Michigan; James Parnall, also a member of the firm,
was born on the first of October, 1861, in England, and his marriage
was solemnized December 25, 1884, he marrying Cecelia M. Roberts, a
daughter of James Roberts. Richard and James became members of the
firm in 1881. The Parnall family emigrated to America in 1871, and
located in Colchester, McDonough county, Illinois. In 1877, John
Parnall, Sr., established himself in business, by starting a flour and
feed store. In 1880 the present business was established under the
firm name of Parnall & Son (members being John, Sr., and William.)
Richard is a member of the Knights of Pythias lodge of Colchester,
while James is a member of the Miners' Friendly society, and John,
Sr., of the Methodist Episcopal church."

This would have been the merchant that sold the slab.  I had a tiny
bit of luck with "English whiteware" in a search but no dairy slab. 
Then I found information on "white ware":

"By the last decades of the 18th century, England dominated the
European production of ceramics exported to North America with wares
such as creamware and pearlware, followed by the early 19th-century
introduction of whiteware."
Further down is
"English whiteware was used in the Hollinger home. Fragments of over
200 vessels were found at the Dog River site including plates,
platters, cups and saucers, bowls, tureens, and pitchers. Many have
the same types of painted and transfer-printed decoration seen on
earlier pearlware. One Willowware plate has the backmark of the
Herculanean pottery, which was in operation until 1841. A red
transfer-printed plate with the Canova Pattern was made at the pottery
of Thomas Mayer at Stoke on Trent prior to 1836."
[There is a picture of the whiteware for view next to the latter
quote, almost at the bottom of the page.]
Both quotes from

There are numerous mentions of whiteware at
"The evolutionary steps that were occurring in the hardness and color
of both the paste and glaze make it difficult to distinguish a
nickel-sized body sherd of pearlware from one of whiteware. Whiteware
also has the white fabric to which a blue-tinged glaze was often
applied. Flow blue, discussed under whiteware, is an example of a
whiteware type, body sherds of which will remain indistinguishable
from all but the earliest pearlware. Even dishes labeled ironstone by
the manufacturer sometimes had the pearlware glaze (Hanson and Hsu
1971:75). In the absence of other ware indicators, blue toned, white
bodied sherds will be classified as whiteware (cf. Phillippe 1981:44).
As a conservative approach, this tends to push forward ceramic based

And about 1/5 down the same page beginning with "6. Whiteware
-Whiteware is rendered of a stark white body that is harder than
pearlware. It is covered with a colorless glaze. Whiteware was
developed in England about 1810" you will find further explanation of

If you have Internet Explorer as your browser, do this when you visit
the last link (or any) I've referenced - it saves reading:

Click on Edit in the top bar.
Choose "Find (on this page)"
A gray box will pop up and you enter the word "whiteware" (no quotation marks)
Hit "Find Next" and it will take you to each of the places the word
whiteware is mentioned.


Then I added the words dairy and slab after "white ware" and found a
solid reference.  It is "Antique English Ironstone PURE BUTTER Store
Display Stand - Dairy Shop Slab" at which I believe
is the same item you are referencing - "PURE BUTTER" is visible in the
image there but it came from a different merchant "sold or distributed
by Mordue Bros Ltd. The Rightweigh Service".

Because this "ironstone" item is white ware, the item appears to me
exactly as you describe the one in your question.  It may be that the
magazine gave an incorrect reference?  I am hoping you are after the
item itself regardless of merchant affiliation.  The dairy slab at
this link lists for $1,250.

Should you require clarification of the links I have provided, please
request it *before* rating and closing this question and I will be
happy to respond.  This was a very interesting search!  :)

Best regards,


"Parnall & Son"
"english whiteware"
"white ware"
"white ware" dairy slab
hrlady-ga rated this answer:5 out of 5 stars and gave an additional tip of: $2.00
Thorough and fast answer!  Just sorry that the item I was looking for
had already been sold or withdrawn from sale, so I'm still looking.
Thank my
researcher, and will definitly use your service again.....

Subject: Re: British antique whiteware
From: journalist-ga on 25 Nov 2003 08:17 PST
Greetings again, Hrlady:

I'm delighted you were pleased with my research and I was dismayed to
see the stand was sold.  When I located it, I even clicked over to see
if it was available for purchase and it seemed so...darn.

However, I've gone back and tried various combinations of terms
including as dairy, slab, stand, display, dish, plate, etc.  I located
another but it, too, was sold.

"butter display" stand
This one was only 15 (pounds) as opposed to $1250.

And then...BINGO!  

"pure butter" platter [reproduction]  $138

"pure butter" platter [reproduction]  $140

If a reproduction is acceptable to you, then here it is!  :)  There's
also a cheese platter ($76) that can sit atop the butter platter.  See

Looks like "platter" was the ticket!

Best regards,
Subject: Re: British antique whiteware
From: hrlady-ga on 25 Nov 2003 15:07 PST
Bless you, journalist-ga,
  Thank you, and thank you, and thank you ever again!
  You lovely and determined little researcher!  Job well done!  A reproduction
is ordered and more than fine with me.  You saved me a ton of money and found
exactly what I was looking for...including a glass cloche for over it!
  Best wishes -
Subject: Re: British antique whiteware
From: journalist-ga on 25 Nov 2003 18:15 PST
YAY!  I'm thrilled you are thrilled with a suitable reproduction!  I
had never considered it originally came with a cloche and I'm happy to
have found that, too.

Wishing you a safe and joyous holiday season.  :)

Best regards,

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