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Image Doulton porcelain plate, c1892

TLF ID M000274

This is a dessert plate featuring a scalloped rim and hand-painted Australian wildflowers. It is made of porcelain (bone china) and was manufactured by Doulton and Co at Burslem in Staffordshire, England, around 1892. It was painted by Louis Bilton.

Educational details

Educational value
  • This rare dessert plate was hand-painted by Louis Bilton (c1860-1910), an English artist who spent three years in Sydney from 1885 to 1887 making drawings of Australian flora for 'The Picturesque Atlas of Australasia'. This monumental three-volume set, published between 1886 and 1888, became one of the most significant cultural projects in 19th-century Australia. Bilton secured this important commission courtesy of Julian R Ashton, a key contributor to the album alongside other artists such as Henry Fullwood, Tom Roberts and Marian Ellis Rowan. While in Sydney, Bilton was a member of the Royal Art Society of New South Wales.
  • Australian flora designs painted by Bilton are among the most beautiful, and are unusual in that they were both designed and executed on ceramics by the same person. Bilton was also the only Doulton flower painter who actually lived in Australia, closely observing and producing detailed studies of local flora. All other English ceramics in the genre were based on designs sent from Australia and painted by decorators unfamiliar with Australian plants and their 'true' colours.
  • When Bilton took up employment as a china painter with the well-known firm of Doulton and Co in Burslem in 1892, many of his designs were based on a portfolio of Australian flowers he had sketched in NSW. Some of his designs were displayed at the 1893 World Columbian Exposition in Chicago and won worldwide acclaim. Doulton secured seven of the highest awards in Chicago, the most given to any ceramic company.
  • 'Louis Bilton' wrote John Shorter Sr in 1905, 'shares with Mrs Rowan, the premier position of accurate delineation of our Australian flora, and every National Art Gallery in Australasia I believe, has now permanent record of our gorgeous Flora from his fertile pencil' (Shorter, 'Modern pottery: with some photographs', Art & Architecture, Vol II, no 6, Nov-Dec 1905).

Other details

  • Contributor
  • Name: Powerhouse Museum
  • Organization: Powerhouse Museum
  • Description: Content provider
  • Address: NSW, AUSTRALIA
  • URL:
  • Name: Doulton and Co (Burslem works)
  • Organization: Doulton and Co (Burslem works)
  • Description: Author
  • Address: England
  • Publisher
  • Name: Powerhouse Museum
  • Organization: Powerhouse Museum
  • Description: Publisher
  • Address: NSW, AUSTRALIA
  • URL:
  • Resource metadata contributed by
  • Name: Education Services Australia Ltd
  • Organisation: Education Services Australia Ltd
  • Address: AUSTRALIA
  • URL:
Access profile
  • Generic
Learning Resource Type
  • Image
  • © Curriculum Corporation and Trustees of the Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences 2009 (except where otherwise indicated). You may view, display, print out, copy and modify this material for non-commercial educational purposes provided you retain all acknowledgements associated with the material.