Learn about Toleware

Toleware is painted and varnish-coated tin kitchen ware, made in imitation of the imported Chinese lacquer wares that were popular in the 18th century Britain, but difficult to obtain. The varnishing process was developed in the 18th century by Thomas Allgood, from the coal mining area of Pontypool in South Wales and it prevented the objects from rusting.

The varnish was created with asphalt, a by-product of the coal that was mined locally, mixed with shellac, and the mixture was applied to the thinly-rolled iron plate objects. This varnish was applied in several layers, each being fired at a high temperature, which rendered the finished object extremely durable.

The process was known as Japanning because it resembled the lacquer on Japanese trays.

The Pontypool factory remained in operation until 1820, but a rival factory in nearby Usk owned by two of Allgood’s grandsons, continued until the mid-19th century. Another member of the family founded a japanning factory in Birmingham, which became the main centre of the industry in Britain during the 19th century. more...

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These items are not for sale and the descriptions, images and prices are for reference purposes only.

Antique French hand painted twin handle tole ware tray with bridge scene to centre, approx 66 cm diameter x 50 cm

A floral and bird painted circular tole drinks tray, French 19th century, 60 cm diameter

Two floral painted circular tole drinks trays, one red and one black, French 19th century., The largest 49 cm diameter

Antique French painted tole Ware circular serving tray, approx 55 cm dia

An antique 'Chateau Neuf Du Pape' red tole ware grape pickers bin. 60 cm high, 59 cm wide, 45 cm deep.

An antique chinoiserie decorated red toleware coal bin. 52 cm high, 36 cm wide, 30 cm deep

Three antique French tole ware serving trays in mustard colour with floral sprays, approx 45 cm diameter and smaller (3)

Antique faux tortoise shell tole ware tray, approx 32 cm x 24 cm

A floral painted green tole paper bin, French, circa 1900. 25 cm high, 25 cm wide, 17.5 cm deep

Three Tole ware serving trays, approx 45 cm dia and smaller (3)

Large mustard ground tole Ware tray. Provenance: The Estate of Cynthia McCall-Power Russell, approx 87 cm x 56 cm

Regency Tole tray, c. 1820, original black lacquered Chinoiserie design on later stand in bamboo style, height 54 cm, width 7 5 cm, depth 56 cm. Provenance: Paul Kenny Antiques, Paddington

1920s French wrought iron tole decorated parlour mirror with original aged mirror

Impressive antique toleware lidded wine cooler, fitted with two handles, approx 63 cm high, 56 cm wide

Antique 19th century French twin handles red tole Ware tray, approx 53 cm x 69 cm

Pair of antique French tole Ware vases. of square tapering form, approx 24 cm high, 16 cm Sq (2)

A pair of tole ware jardinieres, decorated with acanthus leaves on a maroon ground, 36 cm high

A tole ware rectangular tray on stand decorated with a central panel depicting a country scene. 55 cm high, 71 cm wide and 50 cm deep

A collection of three tole ware pieces including a shaped tray and two jardinieres

Antique French hand painted tole Ware tray, approx 67 cm x 50 cm

Pair of antique tole Ware circular trays with pierced rims, approx 38 cm Dia each (2)

Antique French tole twin handled circular tray decorated with a spray of flowers. 41 cm diameter

A Regency painted tole tray table top, English circa 1830. 77 cm x 60 cm. Provenance: Private Collection, Sydney

A rare Georgian tole ware plate warmer the domed top above shaped door enclosing shelves, brass handles to the sides, painted throughout, set on cabriole legs with pad feet 70 cm high

Large toleware tray with pierced gallery, painted red and gold. Width 78 cm depth 59 cm Provenance Brook Street Trading, Woollahra

Antique French tole Ware serving tray with hand painted floral decoration. 66 cm long

A Tole spice box, early 20th century, the green-painted rectangular tin on ball feet with a hinged top enclosing six divisions with a decorated internal hinged cover labelled with the names of various spices. Height 9 cm. Width 18 cm. Depth 10.5 cm

A Victorian printed and painted tole bread bin, 1860s, oval with a domed cover, painted in brown scumble, one side printed with a lithograph of 'The Archbishop's Palace' after L.L. Raze, dated 1864, a black and gilt-painted border to the cover. Height 42 c

A painted black tole and wood tray table, 19th century. 55 cm high, tray 60 x 47 cm

A pair of Victorian Chinoiserie tole (tin) tea canisters, stamped to the underside 'Reuben Sutcliffe' a well known Japanner at 57 Thomas Street Manchester 44 cm and 42 cm high, 27 cm diameter

two rare black and gilt Chinoiserie tole Ware log bins, English, 19th century

Tole letter rack with inset badge inscribed 'Ross Holder & Co.Furnishing Ironmongers'. Height 38 cm. Width 32 cm

An oval gilt tole tray, English mid 19th century, 56 x 83 cm

A pair of red Chinoiserie tole urns and covers, English circa 1810

A parcel-gilt decorated japanned tole tray early 19th century, on later stand, of rectangular form with a Chinoiserie figurative central cartouche within a floral ground, on later simulated bamboo parcel-gilt folding stand, 59.5 cm wide, 48 cm deep, 49 cm

Tole tray on stand, 19thC, with faux bamboo legs, height 55 cm, width 60 cm, depth 50 cm

An early Victorian oval toleware tray, with gilt border. Length 66 cm.

A 19th century set of four shop Tole tea canisters and covers each decorated with gilded Chinese key pattern and polychrome Chinoiserie figures, circa 1860, 1880. note; considerable wear and surface degradation. Height 42.5 cm

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