Like so many adventures on our many New England buying trips, this one began when I met a dealer at Brimfield while examining some of his early pieces. He explained that he mostly dealt in later decorator Items from local Coastal Connecticut estates, as that was what he could find and make a profit on, but occasionally came upon older goods from the same households and had just purchased a group of redware and not had time to pack them up for the sale. His shop was on the southern coast of Connecticut. Always anxious to find a new source, we agreed to go there that afternoon. Coincidently the name of the shop was “The Source”.
We were staying in Massachusetts and would have to drive across Connecticut to get there and turn around and go back to our motel that evening, a daunting drive after a very full day, but Edyth was game so off we went. It’s always a mess getting thru or around Hartford and we were thinking maybe this was a foolish errand.
We called and the gentleman met us at his shop as planned. The shop had nice things but not our style until he showed us five pieces of redware. We are always on the lookout for nice American redware pieces for our shop or collection. I’m sure we have sold several hundred pieces of redware from our many trips up East. There was a nice turkshead mold, a small jar, and two undecorated redware dishes, plus a small footed bowl or handleless cup with bands of slip around the outside. The interior was completely covered with slip except for leaf shaped voids around the upper edge. I could hardly contain my excitement in finding such an unusual and attractive piece. I quickly agreed to purchase the group and we packed it up to head back to Massachusetts to be ready for the next day of shopping at Brimfield.
It is rare to find small delicate redware pieces that have survived a hundred and fifty or two hundred years intact. I have seen photos of a similar form from digs at early potterys, but never one decorated in this manner. To get this design, I assume the potter must have applied the leaves before applying the slip and after the slip had completely dried, removed the leaves and then applied the slightly yellow lead glaze before firing it. The shape of the leaves reminds one of the much later Tea Leaf Ironstone, with a luster leaf design. The little bowl is 3 inches tall and 4 1/2 inches wide.
I feel it may be late 18th or early 19th century, possibly from coastal Connecticut or Massachusetts. Has anyone seen anything similar or have an opinion? Would love to hear from you…….Jack