Oldest American Porcelain Traced to Charleston Area, ca. 1765

Posted in journal articles by Editor on March 2, 2011

From The Magazine Antiques:

Robert Hunter, “American Porcelain Teabowl,” The Magazine Antiques

Unveiled for the first time at the Winter Antiques Show, a small teabowl is revealed to be the earliest intact piece of American  porcelain known to date—and it was made near Charleston.

. . . For years, scholars had been aware that another master potter, John Bartlam immigrated to South Carolina from Staffordshire around 1763 to exploit the abundant clays of the region and to take advantage of the growing American market for English style table wares. Bartlam may have been producing soft-paste porcelain as early as 1765 in the settlement of Cain Hoy just north of Charleston, and then later in Charleston until 1773. But the extent of his manufactory was not recognized until archaeologist Stanley South and his team from the South Carolina Institute of Archaeology and Brad Rauschenberg, former director of research at the Museum of Early Southern Decorative Arts, found the nants of his site in Cain Hoy. Their excavations recovered misfired waster fragments of press-molded creamware and blue decorated porcelain. Of particular interest was the recovery of three
fragmentary but matching porcelain teabowls . . . .

Armed with the information provided by the scientific and visual analysis of the Bartlam sherds, one of the researchers working on the project, the English porcelain dealer and scholar Roderick Jellicoe, recently discovered the bowl shown here in an English collection. The printed scenes are identical to those on the Bartlam archaeological examples, and in fact, appear to have come from the same copperplates. . . .

The full article is available here»

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