We have recently added to our cupboard a most unique and beautiful Set of Eight (8) Prince Of Wales Ostrich Feather Border Antique Porcelain Dinner Plates. Measuring a generous 11" in diameter, these marvelous antique porcelain plates have an ivory background that is intricately gilded with fleur-de-lis, small coronets, an incised diamond-patterned verge, and a most unique outer border of curling ostrich feathers that must be a reference to the Prince of Wales' heraldic badge.
These unique and elegant antique gilded plates were loved and used, but were very carefully maintained. Only a few of the center medallions show light knife marks (please examine our photographs), but the surrounding ivory centers are smooth and nearly unmarked! The curling ostrich feather borders are in excellent condition with no large scratches, rub marks or gaps in the design. Only a few of the gilded, scalloped exterior borders show a scratch here and there (again, please examine our photographs as they accurately show condition). The most affected areas of the plates' surfaces are the incised diamond patterns on the wide verges. We think we know how this occurred: many fine households would either keep the formal dining table set, or else would set the table in preparation for a fine meal with highly decorated dinner-size plates at each place setting. When the guests were seated and it was time to serve dinner, the 'fancy' plates would be carried away and stacked, and dinner would be served on a more serviceable plate. The repeated act of stacking these plates created stress almost exclusively on the verges of the plates. We have provided a number of photographs of the various verges so that you can assess condition. There is nothing worse than we have shown you: no large rubbed areas, and no significant areas of gilt loss. If you see any white areas in our photographs, rest assured that it is the light reflecting off the gilding and not an area where the paint has worn away.
These plates lack a manufacturer's backstamp, and so we are left with only two clues to their origins. The word "France" in script font appears on the back of every plate, the word is lighter and more faded on some plates than on others. So we know that the plates were made in France, and were undoubtedly made after 1891, the year when U.S. law began requiring that all pottery imports be stamped with their country of origin. The other clue is that the circular 'foot' of each plate was once painted gold, a clear indication, especially among French porcelain manufacturers, that the item was a custom order for a particular client. When we first examined these plates we initially thought that the feet were unusually dirty or stained. However, on closer observation, we realized that what we were seeing were the trace remainders of each plate's gilded foot (again, please examine our photographs). Harken back to our theory regarding the wear on the verges: the repeated moving and stacking of the plates would have worn the gilded feet as well as the verges!
We would describe these plates as being in very good condition for their age, which we can reasonably estimate to be 100 years old. We have described and photographed every condition issue we found: there are no cracks, chips, stains or nicks on these gorgeous Prince Of Wales Ostrich Feather Border Antique Porcelain Dinner Plates. Since they show light signs of use, you could regard yourself as "off the hook", and bring them home to use without worry or guilt. Place them on your table for a special holiday meal or event -- they will shine! Or you might want to place them in your curio cabinet, or on your shelves, where no one will notice the little signs of wear, and where they will exude the elegance of a bygone era. The decision is all yours! We will send them to you with plate protectors so that they will not be damaged by further stacking. We must implore you to remember to not scrub these plates with anything harsh or put them in the dishwasher!
BRIEF HISTORY: The heraldic badge of the Prince of Wales consists of three white ostrich feathers emerging from a gold coronet with a ribbon below bearing the motto, Ich dien (a contracted form of German for "I serve"). A romantic myth – sadly, discredited in modern times -- tells of the Black Prince taking the badge from John I of Bohemia, whom he fought at the Battle of Crécy in 1346. After the battle, so legend goes, the prince found the body of the dead king, and, to pay him homage for his bravery in battle, took the dead king’s helmet with its ostrich feather crest, later incorporating the feathers into his own arms, and adopting King John's motto, "Ich Diene", as his own. Various sources recount that this story first appeared in writing in 1376, the year of the Black Prince's death, but that there is no sound historical basis for it.
The first Prince of Wales to actually use the badge in its modern form (i.e. three white feathers encircled by a coronet, and with the motto Ich dien) was Prince Arthur (1486–1502), the eldest son of Henry VII.
It was also used by Prince Edward, the only son of Henry VIII, who briefly reigned as Edward VI, although he was never formally created Prince of Wales. The badge reproduced to the left was the very badge used by Edward VI. Reproduced from the Genethliacon illustrissimi Eaduerdi principis Cambriae of John Leland (1543). Only from the beginning of the 17th century did the badge become exclusively associated with the Prince of Wales. It is also the modern day cap badge of the Royal Welsh Regiments, the Princess of Wales’ Royal Regiments, the Staffordshire Regiment and the Welsh Rugby Union.