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Toleware tray

Toleware tray, terra cotta design on blue background, French, ca. 1825-1850


Definition: a household object made of tinned metal that has been lacquered or varnished; can be utilitarian or decorative, but invariably bears a painted design or picture, often an Asian motif; developed around 1700, and widely produced until the end of the 19th century, the best quality ware was manufactured in Usk and Pontypool in Wales, Hoorn in Holland, Paris and Pennsylvania and Maine in the United States; originally, the base metal was pewter, but later consisted of more affordable tin or tinned metal

See also japanned.

Also Known As: tôle peinte, japanned ware, tole

Example: The earliest examples of toleware were probably table articles, such as teapots or trays, but eventually almost anything - from wall sconces to coal caddies - was capable of getting varnished and painted.

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