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Title:wall pocket
Date Made:1760-1770
Type:Household Accessory; Container
Materials:ceramic: white salt-glazed stoneware, overglaze polychrome enamels
Place Made:United Kingdom; England; Staffordshire; Stoke-on-Trent; Fenton Vivian (possibly)
Measurements:overall: 8 in x 5 in; 20.32 cm x 12.7 cm
Accession Number:  HD 57.031A
Museum Collection:  Historic Deerfield

One of a pair of white press-molded, salt-glazed stoneware "face" or mask wall pockets, each with a female face with brown-black eyes and a tied bow on top of her head, framed with baroque foliate scrolling. This design of wall pocket has been found in salt-glazed stoneware and lead-glazed earthenware. Biscuit fragments of cream-colored earthenware wall pockets have been found at Thomas Whieldon's Fenton Vivian side, Stoke-on-Trent., which are identical to tortoiseshell examples manufactured in the form of a woman's face surrounded by foliage. The Fenton Vivian site yielded fragments of the face, scrolls under the chin, and foliate stem, often called "Flora" today. These may be the type of wall pockets referred to in the "New-York Gazette" (August 2, 1762) as "Venis Flower Face - both green and white" advertised by the NY patnerssip of Keeling & Morris. However, the collection of the Potteries Museum at Stoke-on-Trent includes a salt-glazed stoneware block mold for this design with a history of ownership in the Wood family of Burslem. This block is one of 47 found in the house of Enoch Wood in Fountain Place, Burslem upon its demolition. Several of these blocks can be positively attributed to Ralph Wood, the well-known modeller and uncle of Enoch Wood. Blocks by Enoch's father, Aaron Wood, may also have been part of this group. Aaron Wood worked for Thomas Whieldon for a time as well as for many other local manufactureres. Faces were also produced by Thomas and John Wedgwood of the Big House, Burslem, and William Greatbatch (1735-1813), a well-known Staffordshire potter. Fresh, dried and artificial flowers were commonly used as room decorations in the 18th centuries, and were displayed in pockets, flower bricks, vases, pots, and bowls. Wall pockets, which first appeared in China in the 17th century, reached the peak of their popularity in mid 18th century England. Wall pockets came in three basic shapes: faces (the incorporation of a human visage or grotesque mask in the design), balusters, and cornucopiae. Sold in pairs, they could be symmetrical or asymmetrical with right and left-handed examples with one curving to the right and one to the left, as well as identical forms. Usually constructed of press-molded fronts joined to a flat, slab back, wall pockets invariably included a pair of holes to facilitate hanging.

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