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detail of dish

Macquarie Serving Platter, decorated with "Japan" pattern.

Macquarie University
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The Macquarie Dish


This serving platter formed part of a dinner service belonging to Governor Macquarie.

It was presented to Macquarie University in September 1982 by the daughters of Dr. & Mrs. Frederick Watson. Dr. Watson was the editor of the Historical Records of Australia, Sydney, Library Committee of the Commonwealth Parliament, 1914-1925 (thirty-three volumes), one of the principal collections of published primary sources for the study of early Australian history.

Dr. Watson acquired the platter in 1910 from Professor Sir I.P. Anderson Stuart who at that stage owned the complete dinner service. According to Dr. Watson the reason that Anderson Stuart sold him the meat serving dish was because it was too large to be stored in the china cabinets in his house "Linaludin" at Double Bay, Sydney. The remaining dinner and pudding plates were dispersed at auction following Anderson Stuart's death in 1920, and some of these pieces now belong to the Powerhouse Museum, Sydney and the National Trust of Australia.

Professor Anderson Stuart was the Professor of Anatomy (later Physiology) at the University of Sydney 1882-1920.


Large Staffordshire china meat dish - it appears to be Derby porcelain (though there is no Potter's mark visible on the base), made in the period 1800-1820. The dish is boldly decorated with a "Japan" pattern (inspired by the decoration on Japanese Imari wares) in underglaze blue and overglaze red/orange with gilt enrichments.

The Derby factory is traditionally associated with "Japan" patterns, but it should be noted that in the period 1800-1830 Japan patterns represented one of the standard types of ceramic decoration and they were produced by most manufacturers.

The platter has suffered major damage (presumably in the nineteenth century) when it was broken into 4 pieces, and there is also a hairline fracture along one edge. Repairs have been carried out using metal staples on the reverse side. A short length of the raised foot on the base has also been broken off.

In addition, there is a handwritten paper inscription pasted on the base that reads:

"Formerly belonging to Governor Macquarie and purchased at Mr. O'Brien's sale held at Bradley Norton and Lamb in Spring St Sydney." (No date)

The serving platter is currently on public display in The Lachlan Macquarie Room, Macquarie University Library.

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