Sunday, 10 June 2012

Blue and Green 'Shell Edged' Pearlware 1780- 1840

Over the months I've noticed quite a few pieces of pottery with mainly blue but sometimes green crinkly edges. Eventually tracked down the name, once I have this the story is quite easy to piece together. I can’t better others descriptions of this pottery.

'Shell-edged decoration first appeared on creamwares. Later, shell-edge became the most common type of decoration found on pearlware. Colours applied to the rims were usually blue or green with red being less common. The earlier examples of the shell-edged decoration are generally well painted, with the brush strokes being drawn in from the edge, which creates a feathery appearance. In later examples (usually after 1800 or 1805), it was common to sweep the brush along the edge laterally, producing a stripe’ St Mary's University

Different brush strokes nicely illustrated in the photographs of my Thames mudlarking finds below, with the green piece showing the lazier more efficient edging ‘line’ and the blues showing the careful brushing downwards. You can see the bluish tinge in the ‘white’ attributable to the cobalt blue added to the glaze, so characteristic of Pearlware. 

Thames Mudlarking finds 'Shell Edged' Pearlware 1780- 1840
'The 18th century saw the development of a style of tableware, which combined handsome colour and smooth texture of plain Creamware with a moulded and often tinted edging, intended to draw the eye to the food being served. The most popular edging pattern proved to be one, which imitated the random yet rhythmic structure of a scallop shell and Shell Edge Ware produced in vast quantities by potteries throughout England. Inspired by original designs in Leeds Pottery’s 18th century pattern books this new range of Shell Edge dinnerware rekindles the spirit of the Age of Elegance'.world wide shopping

'Such wares were always termed simply 'edged' in potters' invoices and price lists. Next to plain undecorated creamware they were the cheapest items offered for sale and thus although very serviceable, tended to be purchased by consumers at the lower end of the income scale. They were cheap to make and cheap to buy. As time passed many variants of 'shell edge' developed, some with quite elaborately moulded borders'.The potteries

British shell-edged earthenware was produced and exported in such large volumes between 1780 and 1860 that it appears to have been used in almost every American household. In terms of quantity, being the least expensive English earthenware available with color decoration, shell-edged ware was in fact one of the most successful developments in ceramic production during the 18th and 19th centuries.

Enoch Wood’s Burslem pottery works shipped 262,000 pieces in a single consignment. The surviving invoices of American merchants are especially telling: shell-edged products accounted for 40-70% of dinnerware sold in America between 1800 and the eve of the Civil War in 1861, despite the introduction of a number of more fashionable styles during this period.Odyseey marine exploration 2011

1 comment:

  1. Did I mention how much I enjoy this blog. I learn something each time I visit. Great fun.