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[AC] Mead Art Museum at Amherst College; [HC] Hampshire College Art Gallery;
[HD] Historic Deerfield; [MH] Mount Holyoke College Art Museum; [MH SK] The Joseph Allen Skinner Museum at Mount Holyoke College; [SC] Smith College Museum of Art; [UM] University Museum of Contemporary Art at UMASS Amherst


Date Made:1700-1720
Type:Personal Gear
Materials:ceramic: tin-glazed earthenware decorated in cobalt blue; boar's bristles, resin or pitch, base metal
Place Made:The Netherlands; Holland; Delft (possibly)
Measurements:overall: 3 7/8 x 6 1/4 x 3 1/8 in.; 9.8425 x 15.875 x 7.9375 cm
Accession Number:  HD 58.001/A

Brush backs are a relatively rare survival of a utlitiarian object from a line of specialty goods produced by the Delft potters in imitation of their more expensive silver prototypes. They were made by binding small clusters of horsehair with thread and then affixing the clusters with resin to the interior of the pierced holes on the underside of the back. Intended as clothing brushes, these practical objects were "often given as bridal gifts [and] may bear a date or a monogram, but since they were not signed, the makers remain anonymous," according to Ella Schaap. Set of two clothes brushes with oval delft backs decorated in an underglaze blue floral design. These rare surviving brushes with their original horsehair bristles, attached to the back by a black resin or pitch, were used to clean dust and dirt from clothing. Most of these clothes brushes have the same oval, convex form; the decoration varies widely. The convex backs have a stylized floral border and chinoiserie floral spray with roses, sunflowers, and chrysanthemums joined by a single scrolling stem. There is a hole at the end of each brush through which a base metal chain is attached.

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