Malcolm McArthur’s Animal Series Plates

Description: Plates made by Alberta Potteries

Malcolm McArthur, better known as Mac, advised me that he was the originator of the log, cross-section, 10-inch plates that were produced by Alberta Potteries Limited of Redcliff, Alberta, owned by Hop Yuill from 1942 to 1966. Mac originally designed the set of dishes to be sold as a barbeque set, probably sometime between 1950 and 1958. Mac left Alberta Potteries Limited in 1958 to set up his own company about June 1958 and, as he had the rights to the barbeques dishes, he took the design with him to his newly registered company New Medalta Ceramics Limited.

However all of the animal series that I have recorded, except two, have exhibited the round Hand Painted stamp shown here. The hand decoration refers to each piece being painted by hand, but I suspect it was following a template of the animal design rather than being totally painted freehand. The two plates with the different factory stamp are the ones for Abbotsford and Chilliwack, B.C.

The three antelope plates shown below illustrate the differences in the background decoration. One has no clouds, while the two Redcliff ones have different clouds. Presently, the antelope decoration is the only one with or without background cloud additions.

Other differences are in the rim shading and the intensity of the colours. The moose decoration is the most obvious as, while most moose are black, brown is also found. The naming on the pates can also be found in black and brown colours.

The plates range in size from 10 1/8” to 10 3/8” in diameter and are generally round in shape but designed to simulate a cross-section through the trunk of a tree with the outer edge being moulded to take on the form of bark. The rim is usually glazed in a honey tone fading into the lighter center. The animal designs are placed in the middle of the plate and are generally in a round format. The multicoloured designs, usually in the natural colours of the animal and the background setting, include images of a bull elk, a male and female elk, a bighorn ram, a mountain goat, a buffalo, a moose and an antelope. Some of the plates were made to be placed on view using a plate stand or a wireframe for wall mounting, others were made with two holes drilled through either the basal ring at the back or the rim at the top to attach wire or string for mounting the pieces on a wall.

I have had a report of a deer pattern, but until I see one I am presuming that it was most likely the male elk. If anyone has a deer plate, please send me a picture of it. Also If you have a plate not shown below, I would welcome a picture of it. Please send it to me at gettyr@shaw.ca or contact me at 403-273-1132 if you need my mailing address.

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