Two 9th C Staffordshire England Prattware Pot lids. 1- Scene of cockle / shell fish gathering. 2- Dr. Johnson. Each measures approx 4"x4". Wt combined 11 oz. Small earthenware pots with lids decorated first in black and white and then in full color were commonplace in the mid-19th century. They had been around since about 1760 and were ideal as “packaging” for utilitarian products such as bear’s grease hair lotion, cure-all ointments, and tooth powder. These pot lids provide a fascinating lesson in social history. A wide array of different illustrations appear on them, covering such diverse subjects as the Australian gold strike, the Crimean War, Shakespearian plays, assorted portraits of royalty, heroes and actresses and the Great Exhibition of 1851. Felix Pratt (1813-1894) first introduced multi-coloured printing on ceramics at his works in Fenton in the Potteries in 1846. Pratt went on to dominate the market, largely as a result of the expertise of his engraver, Jesse Austin, who developed the process for decorating pot lids. Austin was a gifted artist who drew inspiration from celebrated paintings, events and other aspects of Victorian life. He painted the designs in watercolour and then etched them onto copper plates in order to reproduce the scenes in miniature. The idea of collecting pot lids started in 1897, three years after Felix Pratt’s death, when an exhibition of his work was held in Blackpool. Stand-alone auctions of Prattware pot lids began in 1924 and by the mid 1960s, the hobby reached its height with the formation of the Pot Lid Circle collectors’ club. It continues today.