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Maker(s):Bickford Pottery
Date Made:1850s-1860s
Type:Food Service
Materials:ceramic: lead-glazed red earthenware (redware)
Place Made:United States; Maine; Buxton
Measurements:Overall: 5 7/16 in x 10 1/4 in x 10 in; 13.8 cm x 26 cm x 25.4 cm
Accession Number:  HD 2014.4.149
Credit Line:William T. Brandon Collection of American Redware and Ceramics
Museum Collection:  Historic Deerfield

The Bickford Pottery was a large rural Maine pottery located a few miles west of Portland, Maine. The business operated circa 1825-1880 producing a wide variety of skillfully made objects by Bickford family members. According to Lura Woodside Watkins' Early New England Potters and their Wares, "A pottery in Buxton, a few miles from Gorham, Maine, was founded as early as 1825 by the Bickford family. The father, James, had come from Exeter, New Hampshire, by way of Gorham, Whether he was a potter I have been unable to learn (recent research suggests that he was a potter). His son James Jr. was born five years after the father's marriage to Betsy Wentworth of Buxton, and was twenty seven years of age when the pottery started. His much younger brother Ebenezer Wentworth called "Wentworth" or "Wint" was then only eight years old. In later years these two ran the business together." A geneaology search revealed that James Bickford, Sr. and Betsy Wentworth had a son William Bickford (born 1816), who then had a son William Bickford (born 1842) with Betsy Tyler of Limington, Maine. It is possible that this bowl could be related to either one of these two children. Thrown, red earthenware bowl with circular flat bottom, canted sides, curved, rounded edge to rim, deep bowl covered with layer of lead glaze, incised into clay on bottom of bowl, “W. Bickforb” or possibly Bickford with a flourish underneath, also in pencil on the bottom is “Col. 1913/Rochester/NH.” And “Rochester/N.H.” and painted in red “141” Formerly part of the Burton N. Gates Collection. Condition: Large loss of glaze on the interior of the bowl. Original Gates notecard reads, "Crock or jar. Red clay. Glazed inside only. 5 1/2 in high./ 10 in. across top./ Incised mark./ Carved marks "W. Bickforb"/ Col. 1913 Rochester, N.H./ By BNG." Brandon card attributed the pan to Buxton, Maine. For more information see Justin Thomas, "An Important Inscribed Pot Attributed to Buxton, Maine that is owned by Historic Deerfield in Deerfield, Massachusetts," blog post, Feb. 7, 2016. According to Lorraine and Steve German's research, "The style and color of the interior glaze is like that of the larger milk pans usually associated with Maine, or at least northeastern New England. I found a family of potters named Bickford in Buxton, ME in [Lura Woodside] Watkins' book. The father, James, came from Exeter, NH and opened a pottery sometime around 1825. He had two sons, James, Jr. and Ebenezer Wentworth, known as Wentworth or Wint. James Jr. is listed as a potter in the 1850 Buxton census and again in the 1860 census. His much younger brother, Wint, is listed as a potter living with a farmer named John Pierce in Sebago, Maine in 1860. By 1870, the two brothers were working together at the family pottery in Buxton. If he is the W. Bickford of your piece, this should date it somewhere from the 1850s to the 1860s."

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