A GUIDE TO POT LIDS
A POT LID is a pottery cover for a shallow container usually either of bear grease, pomade and cosmetics or fish & meat pastes. They were made between 1846 and 1880.
JESSE AUSTIN, an engraver employed by Pratt, developed the process of transfer printing in polychrome to decorate the lids.
His method utilized 5 or 6 copper plates. Each plate was for a different color and the color was transferred to tissue paper. Each color was transferred in sequence via tissue paper to the biscuit fired pottery, the outline color being the final application.
Each color took about 2 days to dry and when all the necessary colors had been transferred the lid was glazed and fired. Black was never used.
The resulting print is so fine and detailed that it is often taken for a painted scene.
Most of the lids came from F.& R. PRATT of Fenton, Staffordshire.
When Jesse Austin died he took the secret of these prints with him and they have never been made again. Other makers, particularly Coalport have copied the most popular scenes but the result is less fine.
Cyril Williams-Wood, "Staffordshire Pot Lids and their Potters ".