Antique miniature toy pitcher with rouletted rim beading, rough chipped clay coating, three precisely applied cobalt dark blue bands and other refined features not typically seen together on common utilitarian yellowware vessels (aka yellow ware or yelloware; see all Photos). Each of these features and others are discussed in more detail below. And while this small yellowware pitcher has no makers marks or potters names much like the vast majority of yellowware vessels produced before 1900, its ovoid shape and special refined attributes indicate that it is British and is from the 1800 to 1840 period, hence the c1820 mid-date. As such, this little pitcher is one of the earlier examples of British yellowware and would have been produced as a gift or special treat for an adult or child as some local potteries actively sought to broaden their marketing interests.
First and most notably, this little pitcher is just 2 7/8 inches tall and, therefore, it is too small to be of practical use in a tea service or dessert service. For that reason, some collectors have placed small pitchers measuring less than 3 1/2 inches tall in the miniature or toy category (e.g., see Lisa S. McAllister’s ‘Collector’s Guide to Yellow Ware published in 2000 by Collector Books, Paducah, KY; page 120). Additionally, early miniature pitchers were made to be precise replicas of their full size cousins. In particular, certain features are informative and provide insight on the approximate age of an example. The shape of the handle and how it is attached to the side of the pitcher along with the shape of the spout, overall body form, foot ring style and even how the underside of the base is shaped are, in fact, more important than the presence of certain decorative treatments when assessing the age of manufacture for a pitcher whether it is full size or miniature.
Several important features make this yellowware toy pitcher stand out among early 1800s English miniature pottery. These decorative attributes include a wide band of applied angular coarse sand-size clay chips (also regarded as a version of encrusted decoration, see Photos 2, 3), a stylish up-swept pouring spout (Photo 1), a rim accented with rouletted beading (Photos 3, 6), precisely applied blue bands (Photos 1, 3, 6), a well proportioned rolled foot (more accurately a rounded foot, see Photos 4, 7, 8), a perfectly formed strap handle with cleanly cut end terminals (Photos 3, 4, 7), an elegant oviform shape (Photos 1, 4), and white clay slipped interior (Photos 5, 9). Altogether, it is the refined quality of these special features that remove this pitcher from simple utilitarian categories or functions. In fact, if this was a full size pitcher, its decoration, shape and delicate features would be welcomed in many formal setting in the 1810 to 1830 period except when Chinese blue & white export porcelain was the primary tableware.
Common yellowware clays have a long history in Great Britain and involve buff or light yellowwish-tan clays low in iron mineral content so that the clay appear yellow, beige- yellow or tan under a transparent glaze after firing. Initially, however, the native clay excavated for common British yellowware vessels was processed in a less refined manner than contemporary creamware or pearlware clays. This difference is often visually evident in the semi-coarse buff clays used by local English potters to produce common yellowware vessels especially when a chip or break exposed the body. One of the earliest buff bodied British yellowware ceramic traditions first emerged in the 1670s when a white slipped surface was decorated with slip trailed, dotted and combed brown slip and then covered with a golden yellow lead glaze to produce visually stunning patterns (for several examples of early buff ware British pottery shown in color, see Sotheby’s Catalogue for the Auction of the Harriet Carlton Goldweitz Collection, held January 20, 2006: page 50 for Lot 17, pages 70-71 for Lot 37, etc.,).
The little pitcher listed here is covered with a transparent grayish blue tinged glaze that also has a slight greenish cast, too. The glaze is best described as an early yellowish lead glaze that has had cobalt added to it pursuant to many pre-1830 glaze formulas. This distinctive color of the glaze is most evident on the inside of the pitcher where the white slipped interior appears gray with a slight greenish-blue tinge (this is somewhat evident in Photos 5 and 9). The glaze also exhibits some coarse crazing especially where it is thickest. As a result, the wide blue band along the neck appears darker blue than typically anticipated along with a slight greenish tinge (see all Photos).
Other notable physical features on this small pitcher include a rounded foot protruding outward along the edge of the base than continues under the base and turns into a broad angled inner foot ring leading up to a tall recessed bottom beneath the pitcher (see Photos 7 and 8). This foot ring style and its associated recessed basal underside are important temporal attributes that when found in association with an oviform body, up-swept spout and knife cut handle terminal ends help place this pitcher in the 1800 to 1840 period. Rouletted designs along rims, necks and bodies was a common decorative motif on pearlware and creamware, especially those in the Mocha and Banded traditions from this same time frame (e.g., see Jonathan Rickards’ ‘Mocha and Related Dipped Wares 1770-1939, published in 2006 by the University Press of new England, Hanover N.H.).
Rouletted beading was used on creamware vessels in the 1770s and continued forward to adorn pearlware and yellowware vessels up through mid 1800s. Bands and broad surface coatings of tiny angular pieces of crushed fired clay have been a special decorative method used by British potters since at least the 1740s when it occurs on salt-glazed stoneware teapots and animal figurine jars and jugs (see Sotheby’s Catalogue for the Auction of the Harriet Carlton Goldweitz Collection, held January 20, 2006: page 101 for Lot 65 where a chipped clay encrusted Teapot from c1740-50 is described, or page 105, Lot 72 where a chipped clay encrusted Bear Jug with cover from about 1750 is shown; another bear jug or jar is shown on page 84 in Diana Edwards and Rodney Hampson’s treatise on ‘White Salt-Glazed Stoneware of the British Isle’, published in 2005 by the Antique Collector’s Club). Several British pearlware vessels decorated with crushed clay chips adhering to their exterior are illustrated in Jonathan Rickards’ ‘Mocha and Related Dipped Wares 1770-1939 (published in 2006 by the University Press of new England, Hanover N.H.). One is a pearlware jug with two rouletted rim bands from about 1790 (also called encrusted ware) is shown on pages 104-105, and 167 (Ibid.), and the other is a half-round pearlware bough pot with blue bands from about 1800 (Ibid.). Last of all, Edwards and Hampson (2006: pg 126) also illustrate a Canary yellow glazed tea set (teapot, sugar bowl and creamer) decorated with rouletted beading, white slip, and an inlaid marbled band assigned a French production origin (see Ibid. Pg 129).
Finally, there is applied clay decoration present on some mid 1800s American yellowware pieces, too. However, these examples have extruded clay strands rather than crushed clay fragments and occurs on Lions and Figurines from the 1840s and 1850s. These potters used pieces of extruded wet clay apparently created by forcing the clay through coarse burlap. The term ‘coleslaw’ has been used to describe this kind of applied decoration and it consist of short one quarter inch long strands added to simulate fur while the clay strands were still wet and pliable. Photos of two examples from the Shenandoah Valley in the eastern US are shown in William Wiltshire III’s book ‘Folk Pottery of the Shenandoah Valley’ (see pages 26-27 and pages 36-37).
In summary, the small yellowware pitcher offered for sale here is both early and has special features that narrow its production date to the early to mid 1800s, hence the c1800 to 1840 time frame as noted above. Yellowware pitchers produced after 1840 become increasing less refined, seldom exhibit rouletting, display cruder banding, typically have either thicker/cruder handles or Victorian-style handles with flourishes, and were overwhelmingly designed to fulfill basic utilitarian purposes. Chipped clay encrusted pitchers produced in the late 1800s have cruder handles, lack rouletting and have poorly applied banding, if present at all. In that regard, post 1850 common yellowware vessels were relegated to many common utilitarian functions such as basic food preparation and storage, tavern needs (mugs, tankards, jugs . . . ), cooking/baking purposes, etc., and not refine tablewares and teawares. In contrast, the little pitcher offered here is graceful with its beaded rim band reminiscent of the best beaded Staffordshire creamware teawares first produced back in the 1770s.
So if you are looking for a rather rare antique miniature yellowware pitcher that can still be used today as long as one is very careful, then make sure you seriously consider this chipped clay coated yellowware pitcher while it is still available. And as always, this antique pitcher also comes with my Docs Antiques 100% satisfaction guarantee or you may return it using my return policy (see complete Return Policy details farther below). You also have the option to ask for a customized lay-away plan for purchasing this item (and others when combining orders) by simply requesting the terms you wish to use and then let Doc take care of setting it up and combining any items together as desired (payment installments may be modified at any time should the unexpected ever arise, just let me know by email and I’ll change the due dates).
SIZE & CONDITION: This small pitcher stands about 2 7/8 inches tall, measures about 2 5/8 inches across at its belly, and has a maximum measurement of 3 3/8 inches across at its widest part from outermost handle edge to outermost spout lip (see Photo 1). The pitcher weighs just about 3 oz empty and has a maximum capacity of about 113 ml. The pitcher is in very good condition with no hairlines, major stains, deep scratches, repairs or restoration. There is a tiny flea bite size glaze chip less than 1/16 inch across on the spout that is hard to see (see Photo 5), a small 1/4 inch chip along the edge of the handle (a red pen points to the handle chip in Photo 9) and a small internal glaze fissure along the rim near the handle (fissure pointed out by a black pen in Photo 9). Production defects are minor and limited to a few pieces of chipped clay on the interior of the vessel (see Photo 9 for tiny clump inside the vessel) and under the base (see Photo 7) along with a small patch of dry body (unglazed surface) under the base (a black pen points to the unglazed patch under the base in Photo 8). But in the end, this little pitcher is in very good condition as all the Photos help illustrate. Of course, if the buyer is not completely satisfied, then she/he may return the pitcher for a refund (see our complete return policy for all details as stated below).
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