This “Artifact of the Month” is a piece of china from the White Star Line. The White Star Line was a prominent British shipping company and today is most known for its ship, RMS Titanic. While our piece of china is not from the actual Titanic, it is very similar to what first class guests would have been served on aboard the ship and therefore is on display in a corner of our Great Hall of Steam Gallery with information and other objects relating to Titanic.
“Stonier Co. Liverpool” is stamped on the back of the plate, but in reality they did not make the china. The Stonier company brokered and distributed the china. The star featured in the center of the dish is the symbol of the White Star Line, which is also inscribed in the banner below the flag star. The crown pattern around the plate originated from Brownfield, which gave this style its name. As you can see in the photo, the gold gilt and turquoise embellishments really highlight the center emblem well.
This type of china was used on the big three White Star Line ships: Olympic, Titanic, and Britannic. These were known as Olympic class liners and were known to be the largest and most luxurious ships in the world. These ships had their shares of issues though. Everyone knows the story of Titanic (special thanks to James Cameron for that one) and how she sank on her maiden voyage. But Britannic was requisitioned by the government to be used as a hospital ship during World War I. In 1916, she hit a mine and sank as well, similar to her sister ship. Olympic was the only profitable ship for the White Star Line.