In 1821, Thomas Crafts (1781-1861) of Whately, Massachusetts began to make redware teapots with a dark lustrous black glaze imitating English blackware, a ceramic popular in England from the mid 18th to the early 19th century. His production soon enjoyed impressive sales of $4000 annually with his teapots shipped to New York City and Philadelphia. Sanford S. Perry was the first Whately potter to produce these black-glazed redware teapots (one inscribed 1817 is in the Whately Historical Society), but he left Whately about 1821, possibly after selling his glaze formulas to Crafts, and was in Troy, NY, about 1823 where he worked in earthenware and stoneware. Shards excavated by Lura Woodside Watkins at the Whately pottery site (now owned by the National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution) do match the shape and features of this teapot, but there is a tendency to attribute all black glazed teapots to Thomas Crafts' production. The appearance of the black glazed teapots made by Sanford Perry and other competitors located in Troy and Athens, New York as well as Charlestown, Massachusetts, are not known at this time. Thrown redware teapot and cover, teapot is bulbous in shape with a tapered base and rounded shoulders, there is an attached ribbed strap handle and an attached s-curved spout, the lid is domed with a straight flange at the base and small, round finial at the top, there is a hole for steam to escape, the pot and lid are covered with a lustrous manganese black or dark brown lead glaze on a reddish body,on the flat base of the pot is evidence of 5 circular stilt marks left from kiln furniture. A red mark on the underside of pot reads: "160." Originally part of the Burton N. Gates Collection. According to Gates's notes about this object, he writes: "Tea pot. Whately, Mass. Red clay, Black glaze, with very high luster of silver. 7" h top of cover. Original seen at Graves family in Whately on the site of the old Crafts pottery. Col. 1912 in Williamantic, Ct. by BNG." and in another hand "[See clock shelf in kitchen at "24" (1966) W.C. G.]" Condition: excellent condition, with minor glaze chips on the finial and on edge of lid, small chip on underside of lid, Origin: probably made by Thomas Crafts, Whately, Massachusetts, c. 1822-32.
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