Imperial's Windmill (and Double Dutch)
Imperial’s Windmill pattern is essentially simple. There’s a windmill – just ONE windmill - a bridge, a fence and some trees.
Imperial made a range of shapes in their Windmill pattern, including water sets, pickle dishes and berry sets (large and small bowls) but it’s just the large sized bowls that we are considering here. These are where it all gets very interesting … because there isn’t just one version of Windmill, there are two.
Version 1 - single flower version
The single flower version, which is seen most often, features a single flower at the top centre, and a windmill with four sails plus a platform on the left of the building. The trees at each side are similar, and there’s a church spire on the right in the background. This bowl has been re-issued, but examples should be clearly marked. Size: around 7.5 inches.
Version 2 - multiple flower version
The multiple flower version is seen less often. There are four flowers together at the top, with two more (one at each side). It’s a much more complex and detailed design than the single flower version. The windmill has three sails. There is a deciduous tree on the left and a detailed conifer (fir) tree on the right. There’s a church with spire in the background (left) and a mountain top in the background on the right. Size: around 8 inches.
It’s easy to distinguish the Windmill pattern from Imperial’s Double Dutch.
Double Dutch has TWO windmills - one being smaller than the other.
There are no flowers at the top. A bare branched tree on the right and a leafy one on the left. There’s a small boat with a sail, in the foreground. Size: around 8.5 inches
The production time-frame.
Our understanding is that Imperial were making the Windmill and Double Dutch patterns (they are both part of the same pattern line) from around 1911. The pattern is shown in Imperial catalogues in 1912 and 1913. Butler Brothers wholesale catalogues featured Windmill / Double Dutch from c. 1915 to 1923. Ads featured in the “Sydney Sun” in Australia show the Double Dutch bowl on offer in 1926.
Contemporary Reissues and Reproductions of Windmill
Imperial reissued Windmill and L.E. Smith also did their own reproductions.
Contemporary Windmill pieces should be marked (for example, IG for Imperial, or S for L.E. Smith).
All catalogue illustrations above are from an Imperial catalogue from the 1920s.