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Maker(s):American Pottery Company (attributed)
Date Made:1838-1850
Type:Food Service
Materials:ceramic: gray stoneware, matte red-brown slip, interior matte putty glaze; Rockingham glaze
Place Made:United States; New Jersey; Jersey City (probably)
Measurements:overall: 10 1/2 in x 12 1/4 in x 7 3/4 in; 26.67 cm x 31.115 cm x 19.685 cm
Accession Number:  HD 69.0449
Credit Line:Transfer from the Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association, bequest of C. Alice Baker
Museum Collection:  Historic Deerfield

"Fancy Rockingham" six-sided pitcher with a curved pouring spout and C-shaped handle covered with a matte red-brown slip over a gray stoneware body, decorated with the relief-molded pattern, "Wind-swept Daisies." The simplicity and wide surfaces of the panels on these pitchers gave the modellers great flexibility in creating designs, allowing for the repetition of decorative elements on the repeated curved surfaces. The Rockingham name was taken from the estate of the Marquis of Rockingham in Yorkshire, England, where potters created household wares with a characteristic lustrous mottled brown glaze from 1757 to 1842. In the strictest interpretation of the word, "Rockingham" is a brown glaze colored by the addtion of manganese; and "Fancy" refers to ornamented objects, embossed with relief-molded decoration or narrative designs achieved by sprig molding each piece or by press-molding the entire body. English potters, modelers, and designers came to America through the 1820s and 1830s, often through NYC, working first in the Jersey City potteries, and later many moving along the east coast and to the mid-west. This form of pitcher was produced by a master Staffordshire potter, Scottish-born David Henderson (c.1793-1845), who gained his reputation for introducing English molded pottery making in the United States. This new method made possible the casting of stoneware, rockingham, and yellow ware pieces in molds, instead of shaping each piece by hand on the potter’s wheel, which speeded production and made possible the relief decoration so popular during the Victorian era in both ceramics and glass. In 1828, David Henderson, with his brother Joseph, bought the Jersey Porcelain & Earthenware Company in Jersey City, NJ; named the company D & J Henderson; and then incorporated and renamed it the American Pottery Manufacturing Company in 1833. Henderson first produced this Rockingham glaze in 1829, described as 'Flint Ware both embossed and plain,' which the "New York Commercial Advertiser" called "elegant pitchers . . . in a new style [which] if not too cheap will be accounted handsome." The English-trained ceramic modeler Daniel Greatbatch left Staffordshire, England, in 1837, and worked for the American Pottery Company between 1838 and 1848, designing teapots, creamers, and sugars in white-glazed stoneware and the first American Rockingham hound-handle pitcher executed about 1840. Greatbatch designed the "Wind-swept Daisies" pattern on this pitcher, which was part of a teaset produced in a variety of colors. For these pieces, he first designed the shape of each vessel and sculpted it in clay, allowing it to dry to a leather-hard state. He then pressed soft clay into one of the hand-held intaglio molds, thus embossing the underside of the sprig with the pattern. Next he would flop the mold over onto the nearly-dry clay surface, which drew the sprig from its mold by attacting the moisture from it. Aided by a daub of slip, the sprig would adhere ot the surface, its molded side now on top. Greatbatch then applied, one at a time, dozens of daisies and leaves in rhythmic patterns, twisting and turning them, bridging the gaps with sculpted stems and vines as needed. When finished, the clay master models were fired to harden them enough to be cast in plaster. Few designers could match Greatbatch's patience and capacity for detail in building his designs.

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