Welcome to My Red Cape. Long ago in another time my husband Jack and I lived in a little old red house. It was the stuff of dreams to us for the few years that we were there. I live there still a number of hours every day in imagination, with old dolls and paintings and fabrics and feather trees. I draw inspiration and happiness from the memories of that space in time and share some of it here with friends who remember how to step with Alice through the looking glass and take delight in whimsies and antiquities.

For more than sixty years I have studied, collected, repaired, and bought and sold antique dolls. They have been back ground music in my life at every stage, sometimes louder, sometimes subdued, but always there with me. To see only the posts about dolls on this blog, click the banner on the right titled Dolls for My Red Cape. Keep clicking “Older Posts” to see more. Some of the posts featuring rug hooking are gathered under the banner For Cathy. From time to time items are offered for sale under the banner “O’Neill’s Antiques” which was our shop name for many years. ~Edyth O’Neill

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Boston Stoneware collection

While shopping at an antique flea market in New Hampshire one fall morning, I noticed a very shapely piece of stoneware that was painted white. I inquired about the jug and the dealer showed me where he had scraped the paint away from the name and some imprinted designs on the neck and said it was from Charlestown and very collectable. I passed on the jug but that piqued my curiosity about the subject. Most of our customers and my wife liked the grey stoneware with the blue decoration, flowers, birds, and leafy designs, while I was becoming more attracted to the early forms that used very little blue, often just a bit to highlight the maker’s name or city and sometimes around the handle.
These ovoid forms just talked to me. Often they had incised rings around the neck and sometimes on the shoulder of the piece and displayed imperfections in the glaze and body from the crude kilns and erratic firings, all of which showed the handwork involved in their making. On our return from the trip I started to research Charlestown pottery and discovered that Charlestown was across the river from Boston and was the home of Bunker Hill, site of our first big battle with the British in the Revolutionary War. According to our reference books, the Charlestown marked pottery was the product of a potter originally from Connecticut named Frederick Carpenter who started in the business in Boston in 1793 with a partner, Jonathan Fenton. That business lasted only a few years. Pottery produced during this 18th century period was marked Boston with a B the same size as the other letters. Carpenter tried again in 1803 with a new backer and marked his wares Boston with a large B and later Charlestown. After 1812 the Boston mark was no longer used and Charlestown was the mark until Carpenter’s death in 1827. Many wonderful pieces with these marks survived…….The pieces often had stamped designs under the town name instead of a stamped 2 or 3 to indicate the capacity in gallons. Hearts, chevrons with tassels, eagles over cannons, crosses are just some of the designs used . Often the pieces were dipped in a brown glaze top and bottom in the style of English stoneware of that time. The glaze often ran or was mottled and variegated and this effect adds to the pottery’s charm.
During 1804 a few of the pieces were stamped Boston 1804. Pride was taken in the fact that these wares were made in this country and not imported. One article written in the 1950’s said only ten pieces with this marking, Boston 1804, were known to the author. I have personally seen six or seven pieces on the market for sale with this date, so am sure there were more than ten survivors, but still they are quite rare. Enjoy the photos from my collection which I hope show some of the appeal of the pottery……Jack


  1. Oh, they are interesting in shape. I always find it interesting how some antiques look almost modern in a way. The shapes certainly look like some modern sculptures. It was nice to read your piece, Jack.

  2. I love your pieces and see both salt and the 'normal' wood fired pieces. I also love old redware but would never use it because of the lead glazing. You have a most lovely collection!

  3. Fascinating Post.
    Interesting to hear why the pieces appeal to you - and their story.

  4. Beautiful. Thank you for sharing these!

  5. Just wanted to say I enjoyed reading this. You are right that brown-dipped and otherwise cruder stoneware tends to take a back seat to that with blue decoration, but I share your interest in particular maker's marks or potteries, regardless of decoration.

  6. I noticed you have 2 small Boston or Charlestown jugs on top of your cabinet. I also have one a bit more slender and 9 inches tall, does not have much glaze but mine is a Boston.. didn't know if you knew any information on them as I cant seem to find any images or info online..

    1. Dear Alycia the article written above by my late husband Jack, is all I have on the subject. Try to google the name of the potter, as Frederick Carpenter pottery or Frederick Carpenter pottery in images and also general search . A lot comes up, some relevant some not, but a lot to follow up and study. . e


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