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Sample Plate (France)

This is a Sample plate. It is dated ca. 1920s and we acquired it in 2003. Its medium is glazed earthenware. It is a part of the Product Design and Decorative Arts department.

The stamped or incised mark on the underside of this plate indicates it is from Chantilly, a ceramics center in France since the 18th century. The plate appears to date from about the 1920s. The wheel-like arrangement of the wedge-shaped color samples (each with corresponding names on the edge of the rim) and the wide circular band of glaze, gives the optical illusion of translucent, overlapping color fields. The arrangement and color harmonies are reminiscent of the color theories of the French textile designer and artist Sonia Delauney, who was known for her investigations of color and visual rhythms and effects.
This plate is an example of the “sampling” format. This format was widely used by manufacturers to assist consumers in choosing the right combination of color, design, and materials, for products ranging from textiles to dinner plates. These products have become stylistic indicators of the time in terms of the choices of color and design. They also are beautiful artifacts in the arrangement of visual information on either the page of a sample book or the rim of a plate.
Sample plates are relatively rare and greatly enrich the museum’s documentary holdings related to ceramics design, technology, and marketing.

It is credited Museum purchase from Charles E. Sampson Memorial Fund.

  • Buffaloware Sample Plate
  • molded and glazed earthenware.
  • Museum purchase from General Acquisitions Endowment.
  • 2005-11-3

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Its dimensions are

H x diam.: 3.5 x 42.5 cm (1 3/8 x 16 3/4 in.)

It has the following markings

In center of plate: cypher of overlapping initials: "R[backwards]EC"; on underside: small stamped image of hunting horn.

Cite this object as

Sample Plate (France); glazed earthenware; H x diam.: 3.5 x 42.5 cm (1 3/8 x 16 3/4 in.); Museum purchase from Charles E. Sampson Memorial Fund; 2003-5-5

This object was previously on display as a part of the exhibition Saturated: The Allure and Science of Color.

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<ref name=CH>{{cite web |url=https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18698059/ |title=Sample Plate (France) |author=Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum |accessdate=7 June 2023 |publisher=Smithsonian Institution}}</ref>