This tureen was donated to our collection in 1998. It was made in England by Sampson Hancock & Sons in the “flow blue” Leicester pattern.
The entire piece is decorated with hunting, landscape and floral scenes in cartouches trimmed in gold. The dish and the lid have ornate handles with scalloped edges. The tureen was made around 1906.
Sampson Hancock was an earthenware manufacturer in Stoke-on-Trent, an English city known for its pottery industry. He established Sampson Hancock and Sons in 1891.
The company was known for tableware, toilet ware and products produced for hotels. Hancock died in 1900 and his three sons took over the business. Faced with financial difficulties, the company restructured but was ultimately unsuccessful and filed for bankruptcy in 1937.
"Flow blue” china was very popular during the Victorian era and was first made in Staffordshire around 1825. The technique made designs that were transfer-printed on porcelain look like they were hand-painted and thus more expensive. The blurry effect of the design was achieved by adding lime or ammonia to the kiln during glazing.
Tureens were used for serving dishes like soups, chowders, and stews. The lids kept the dishes warm, especially when served “à la française,” or family style, with diners helping themselves to the dishes at the table. An average sized tureen served about 6 people and was usually placed in front of the lady of the house, while the meat dishes were placed in front of the men and the vegetable dishes in front of older dinner guests. Besides soup tureens, a complete dinner service would also include smaller sauce tureens.