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

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

A turkey hooked rug

Sunday we had a pleasant visit from Gina, a rug hooker we made acquaintance with long years back.  As she is an antique collector, a doll lover and a fine rug maker, we had a lot to talk about.   Here is a picture of Gina and her rug, hooked on a pattern from Country Gatherings.

We enjoy a visit from friends with similar interests to our own. Jack and I miss the company of people who used to come see us when we had our antique shop. There were always interesting people discussing American Decorative Arts of earlier times,  furniture, paint colors, fireplace iron, textiles, pewter, and on and on.. Where was it made, who made or used it, and how and when? What are the good/better/best points of this item?  How should it be restored? (Or should it be!) 
This was an endlessly fascinating study and dialog for us, a tapestry of interests so wide and varied it could never all be learned. That was what being a dealer in antiques meant to us, not the more publicised TV image of making some great find, bought for pennies and worth great sums.    Rather we concentrated on learning to see.. and to identify and evaluate what we found. Form and surface and provenance were our measures of value.   We both are grateful to have had the good fortune to live this lifestyle for a few years.  Our home is filled with reminders of all those years of adventure, very saticefying indeed!

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Four Early Hartford Connecticut Stoneware Pots in a Texas Kitchen

As a fan of early 19th century American stoneware it was exciting to come across a large shapely three gallon crock with an unfamiliar name on it, Peter Cross Hartford, at a local show way down here in the Texas Hill Country. The large open mouth vessel had all of the earmarks of a very early piece: ovoid form, some scars from the kiln as well as extra details around the neck. I estimated the date of manufacture at around 1815 because of those features. Needless to say I added it to my collection. I was able to find it in my reference books (before I had Google) and see that Peter Cross operated a pottery from 1805 until about 1815 in two locations on Front St. in Hartford. Not many of his marked pieces have survived and are quite sought after.

Peter Cross sold his first pottery location in 1810 to Goodwin and Webster and opened another that he sold in 1815 to Benton and Stewart. They employed a potter named Daniel Goodale jr. who later bought the pottery in 1822. Goodale made pottery there until 1830 when Goodwin and Webster took over that pottery as well.

My Benton and Stewart jug was found at Brimfield and came with the story that those were the names of two retired sea captains that decided to go into the stoneware business. It was pleasantly ovoid shaped and had a series of rings around its neck which pretty much dates it 1820 or earlier. My research did show that they were indeed retired sea captains. Sometimes the story does match up with the facts. Very few pieces with that mark show up.

The Goodale crock was also found at Brimfield on another trip. It appears to retain its original lid which is unusual and features a nice bulbous form and Hartford mark which appealed to me.

The Goodwin and Webster pot was found in one of our favorite shops in Willington Connecticut. Although not rare, pots turned out by Goodwin and Webster are usually shapely and stylish. They were probably the most successful of the early Connecticut potters.

All four of our pots are related and were made in close proximity to one another, a fact that I didn’t realize when I bought them. I think it only fitting that they now sit side by side although they are many miles from Hartford.    Jack

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