Manufacturer: Shenango China
User: The Lambs Club
Distributor: L. Barth & Son
Date of plate: 1905-circa 1915
Notes: The Lambs is America's first professional theatrical club, established in New York in 1874. The Lambs was named after a club by the same name in London, England, that flourished between 1869 and 1879.
The club's name honors the essayist Charles Lamb and his sister Mary, who – during the early 1800s –- were hosts to actors and literati at their famed salon in London. The Lambs – or Lambs Club – is a social gathering place for people who work in the performing arts. Performers, directors, writers, artists and technicians of the entertainment industry gather to celebrate their commonality.
Since its founding, there have been more than 6,000 Lambs, including such greats as Fred Astaire, Gene Autry, Irving Berlin, Douglas Fairbanks, W.C. Fields, Bert Lahr, Will Rogers and John Philip Sousa. Current luminaries include the Academy Award winning actor Cliff Robertson, Karen James, Abe Vigoda and Joyce Randolph (Trixie from The Honeymooners).
Though the club is now located at 3 West 51st Street in New York City, when this plate was used in the early 20th century, the club was housed in a building designed by architect Stanford White (of the prominent firm of McKim, Mead and White) that opened in 1905 on West 44th Street. Given the date range of this plate, it is possible that this was the first china ordered for the club.
The white plate has a field of lambs at play in a grassy meadow on its border with fluffy clouds in the background. A deep blue wide line is located on the rim, interrupted at intervals by the clouds. It is backstamped: Made expressly for the Lambs Club New York City. The 1905-circa 1915 date range of the plate was determined by the first known use of the Shenango Pottery Co. backstamp (in 1905) and the year in which L. Barth & Son became L. Barth & Sons – sometime between 1911 and 1918.
For more info:
Lambs by Syracuse China
ID and photos contributed by Susan Phillips