Gorge. Nottingham, England, ca. 1700. Salt-glazed stoneware. OH: 3 15/16”; OW: 3 13/16”; OD: 3 1/8”.
Ceramics and Glass
Sweetmeat Stand. England, ca. 1760. Leaded glass. OH: 17 1/8"; OW: 13 1/2".
Gift of John V. Rowan, Jr. in memory of Winifred Draco Shrubsole
Face Jug. Burlon Craig, Vale, North Carolina, ca. 1979. Salt-glazed Stoneware. OH: 19 ½”; OW: 14”.
Gift of Daisy Wade Bridges
Colonial Williamsburg’s ceramics and glass collections encompass more than 11,000 objects ranging in date from the seventeenth century through the 1830s, with a particular focus on wares made between 1740 and 1780. The majority of objects reflect the wares that were made in or imported to America during the colonial and early national periods. The Foundation’s historic buildings are furnished with earthenwares, stonewares, and porcelains that in many cases are exact matches to fragments found archaeologically at each site. At the DeWitt Wallace Decorative Arts Museum, those pieces are placed in a larger context, showcasing vessels that may never have been in colonial America, but played an important role in shaping the taste and choices of colonists.
The Foundation’s assemblage of British ceramics, one of the best in the nation, is particularly strong in slipware, delft (tin-glazed earthenware), salt-glazed stoneware, and Chelsea porcelain. Additional highlights include one of the largest assemblages of German stoneware in America; American-made earthenware and stoneware, including many examples by southern potters; and a growing group of Chinese export porcelain of the type owned in pre-Revolutionary Virginia.
Colonial Williamsburg’s glass collection is predominantly comprised of early British wares and a few pieces manufactured in America. Highlights include eighteenth century English chandeliers, sweetmeat poles, wine glasses, and wine bottles.
The Foundation continues the tradition of American craft and folk art at the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Museum. Ceramics displayed there were all produced in America between the eighteenth century and the present. Of note are wares made by potters who embellished their work with evocative, whimsical patterns. Special focus has been placed on potters working in the American South, including Henry Lowndes, members of the Bell family, Collin Rhodes, David Drake, Mark Baynham, Georgia Blizzard, Burlon Craig, and Billy Ray Hussey.
Books about Colonial Williamsburg Ceramics and Glass
- Austin, John C. British Delft at Williamsburg. Williamsburg, Virginia: Colonial Williamsburg Foundation in association with Jonathan Horne Publications, 1994.
- Austin, John C. Chelsea Porcelain at Williamsburg. Williamsburg, Virginia: Colonial Williamsburg Foundation in association with University Press of Virginia, 1977.
- Clarke, Samuel M. Worcester Porcelain in the Colonial Williamsburg Collection. Williamsburg, Virginia: Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, 1987.
- Grigsby, Leslie B. English Slip-Decorated Earthenware at Williamsburg. Williamsburg, Virginia: Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, 1993.
- Skerry, Janine E. and Suzanne Findlen Hood. Salt-Glazed Stoneware in Early America. Williamsburg, Virginia: Colonial Williamsburg Foundation in association with University Press of New England, 2009.
In the first comprehensive book on the topic, Colonial Williamsburg curators Janine E. Skerry and Suzanne Findlen Hood chronicle the traditions of stoneware imported from England and Germany as well as the work of American potters.
By Janine E. Skerry and Suzanne Findlen Hood
"A must-have volume for all ceramic enthusiasts, Salt-glazed Stoneware in Early America is a long-overdue tribute to the often-neglected but indispensable role that stoneware played in the American context." - Robert Hunter, editor, Ceramics in America
Stoneware was ubiquitous in colonial and early American homes. In the first comprehensive book on the topic, Colonial Williamsburg curators Janine E. Skerry and Suzanne Findlen Hood chronicle the traditions of stoneware imported from England and Germany as well as the work of American potters.
Drawing on archaeological and documentary sources and featuring objects from Colonial Williamsburg's holdings as well as public and private collections, the book provides an invaluable overview of the goods found in early America. It is an essential reference for archaeologists, curators, and collectors.
Hardcover with jacket, 288 pages
9" x 11-1/4"
303 color images