11 April 2016

Gallery Nᵒ.2: Enamel Buttons


These enamel buttons were almost certainly produced in Birmingham between about 1745 and 1765, and were possibly made in the manufactory of John Talyor. Taylor ran, probably, the largest manufactory in Birmingham at this time, including making enamel toys and gilt buttons. These button have painted enamel centre set in gilt metal. There were other button-makers and enamellers in the town, but the combining of the two makes Taylor's factory a likely candidate for their manufacture. If they were not the product of Taylor's manufactory then they were probably produced through collaboration, with one maker producing the enamel circles and another mounting them in gilt metal.

Two sets of enamel buttons are held at Wolverhampton Museum, one depicting honeysuckles and the other roses. Each flower is hand painted, and each slightly different from the next.


Full set held at Wolverhampton Museum.


Full set held at Wolverhampton Museum.


The MET Museum also have four of what would have been a larger set of transfer-printed enamel buttons depicting hunting scenes. All these buttons were probably for male attire, but these also told a story of country living.

The buttons were probably produced between about 1760 and 1770 and, again, with their enamelled centre and gilt surround, were possibly a product of Taylor's manufactory.

Transfer-printing was developed in the late 1740s and early 1750s in Birmingham, after being invented probably in Liverpool. It allowed copperplate images to be printed onto the shiny surfaces of enamel and porcelain, allowing for mass production as one print could produce thousands of buttons. Taylor was practising transfer-printing from at least 1765.





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