Ralph and Thomas Toft

Plates made by Ralph and Thomas Toft in the seventeenth century. Amazing slipware with such a cartoonish sense of character and expression. I can't get over how timeless the pieces are - I had a notion in my head that we were maybe the first generation of people to really appreciate naive and expressive work, obviously not. There are only around forty examples of Toft work remaining in the world, unfortunately none of which belong to me.thomas toft early english slipware thomas toft early english slipware thomas toft early english slipware thomas toft early english slipware thomas toft early english slipware thomas toft early english slipware I thomas toft early english slipwareI was reading about Thomas Toft in my Leach book and did an internet search that didn't show up much, then I searched the Stoke Pottery Museum's site and there's so much on there! (All these images are from there) It's incredible - I think I will visit in person soon. This is the second time Stoke has cropped up recently: recently I was told there are so many empty houses there you can buy one from the council for a pound. This may or may not be true but I'm already having fantasies about trailing some hippy cronies up there to make a life amongst the crockery.


  1. Hello Jo,

    Hilarious plates - thanks for showing them. I'm always looking at plates and mentally turning the designs into appliqué. These would be a hoot.
    My mum was from Stoke. It's her fault I always turn plates over to read the stamp.


  2. These are really great, can't believe how old they are!

  3. brill! i'm pretty sure the fitzwilliam in cambridge has some of these

  4. So glad you like them, I like them a lot - I really want to hold one in my hands. And I'd like to see some of the designs appliqued: maybe the mermaid with the scary eyes. Haven't been to the Fitzwilliam since I was a kid, that's another idea to put in the treat basket.

  5. Thanks so much for sharing the pictures. Thomas Toft was my 9th Great Grandfather.

  6. Wow! That's exciting! Congratulations, do you have any of their stuff?