Dental Delight

Victorian English Aesthetic Movement Ironstone Toothbrush Holder with Transfer Decoration (LEO Design)

Though modern dentistry has come far in the last 50 years, basic dental hygiene—brushing one's teeth two or three times a day—has been standard practice for decades.  In a middle class English home of the 1880's, a toothbrush holder, such as the one above, might have sat on the edge of the heavy porcelain sink.  It was made in Burslem, Stoke-on-Trent in Staffordshire—that center of British ceramics production since the 1700's.  The handsome Aesthetic Movement decoration is applied with "transferware," a process by which a pattern printed on paper is applied to the ceramic item before firing.  This allowed complex or delicate patterns to be quickly (and inexpensively) reproduced on ceramics en masse. The material is called "Ironstone," a common Stoke-on-Trent ceramic, used mostly for functional objects like tea serviceware, soapdishes and kitchen bowls.  Click upon the photo above to learn more about this handsome bathroom accessory.


Though our Greenwich Village store is now permanently closed, LEO Design is still alive and well!  Please visit our on-line store where we continue to sell Handsome Gifts (

We also can be found in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania at The Antique Center of Strabane (

Or call to arrange to visit our Pittsburgh showroom (by private appointment only).  917-446-4248