Artist/maker unknown, English

Made in Virginia, United States, North and Central America

c. 1826

Glazed earthenware (redware) with slip decoration; reverse unglazed

5 3/4 x 16 3/8 x 11 1/4 inches (14.7 x 41.7 x 28.5 cm)

Curatorial Department:
American Art

Object Location:

Currently not on view

Accession Number:

Credit Line:
Gift in memory of Eugene Sussel by his wife Charlene Sussel, 1991

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nhd 1815 to 1860 food ceramics [x]  

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This bowl was made from high-quality clay found under the wet topsoil of Pennsylvania's low-lying plains. Southeastern Pennsylvania's terrain could support farms on the topsoil and potteries on the subsoil, so by 1810 potteries could be found in almost every township in Buck's County.

The work of the potter fit into the agricultural calendar. The clay was dug in the fall: topsoil was cleared and a foot-deep layer of clay was sliced and shoveled into a wagon, hauled to the pottery, and stacked. Before freezing weather, the clay was carried in baskets and dumped into a mill - a round tub with a revolving post set with blades. A horse harnessed to a sweep walked slowly around the tub, turning the blades. Water was flushed through to clean the clay and the resulting mass of plastic earth turned gray to yellow. The clay was then shaped into one hundred pound blocks and stored in a cellar where it was kept moist but would not freeze.

The interior of this bowl is covered with a clear glaze and decorated with thick white slip. Manganese daubed on before glazing produced the brown accents.

Inscribed: 1826