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

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Redware Bowl, Trifle or Treasure

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


  1. The depth of knowledge that you and E have amazes me. I love learning - thanks for sharing about these wonderful antiques. ~ Dixie

  2. This is a fascinating little redware bowl! How interesting that they put the leaves on the inside instead of the outside. It makes for a charming surprise as you look into it.

    Jack, I enjoy your posts and hope you will continue to share your treasures. I miss hearing from Edyth and you, but know you have been busy with your move into a new home. I think of you both often. I am sure you are imprinting your new home with with the amazing talents you both have. Things are well here and we recently welcomed our first grandchild into the world. His name is Evan and he's a precious boy. My collecting habits have veered toward early chalkware recently. It's funny...we never know where our collecting will lead us. But what an adventure, as evidenced in your writings. Tricia

    P.S. Edyth, I am in the DAR, too and enjoy it so much. Found out my 5th great aunt was married to Daniel Boone's brother Squire and Anthony Wayne and I share the same 9th great grandfather.

  3. Oh, My Goodness, Jack! You have stopped my heart again with the photo of what I am betting it is an unsual little piece of redware. How smart, and lucky, you two are! I am going to have to put a lock on my computer room, or I will never get back to my "cleaning girls" this morning!

    Keep writing-don't stop!-Virginia M.

  4. That is a gorgeous piece, have never seen one like that, though I haven't been looking. I am on the east coast and never see things like that but I usually go to consignments which carry some antiques.


  5. Edyth & Jack, Virginia seems always to sum it up ~ The writings from both of you are exceptional and worthy. Your research and histories of your collections are enlightening and always seem to transport me to a place I would rather be. I am sending the rifle research on to a good friend who studies the Revolutionary War period through his ancestry.

    Your redware is wonderful and inspires me to continue with my pottery. Still haven't decided what I will do, the lead glazes are so hard to replicate and I surely don't want to poison anyone.

    You have both helped me through a delicate few months. I can't thank you enough. Now I will pick up my flag and go forth. Life is good.




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