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Spode 1830's Platter

1831? A serving platter, 20¼" x 15½", showing "The Horse and the Loaded Ass." "Aesop's Fables." Spode. England. Gift of Barbara Markuson, Glenwood, IA. August, '10.

This platter is done in the relatively rare black style. Barbara gave it to me in honor of her deceased husband Stanley, who carried the large platter back in his lap as he returned by airplane from Barbados. Barbara had taken the platter to the Antiques Road Show, where the antiques expert mentioned the particularly fine rendition of the horse and the relatively rare black. She valued it at $250. I wonder if it belongs to Spode's original "Aesop's Fables" series, apparently issued in 1831. The fable is apparently Perry #181. I present here Babrius #7, which seems to be the first to do the fable exactly this way: A man had a horse which he used to lead along with him free of any burden. He put the burden upon an aged ass. So the latter, worn out by much toil, went up to the horse and spoke with him about it: “If you are willing to share a part of my load, I may, perhaps, come through alive, but otherwise I shall die.” “Go along," replied the horse, “don't bother me." The ass plodded on in silence, but presently, spent with toil, he fell down and lay dead, as he had foretold. Immediately the master drew up the horse beside him and, unfastening the entire load, put upon the horse not only the packsaddle of the poor drudge, with all its burden, but in addition also, after flaying him, the ass's skin.” Alas," said the horse, “how poor was my judgment; that very burden, of which I was unwilling to share even a small part, has now of necessity been put upon me in its entirety." Click on any image to see it enlarged.


The central image of horse and ass

Detail of the horse

Detail of the ass