Rare sgraffito glazed red earthenware plate or deep dish with floral sprays, attributed to David Spinner (1758-1811) Milford Township, Bucks County, Pennsylvania, 1785-1805
- SGRAFFITO PLATE OR DEEP DISH WITH FLORAL SPRAYS
- Glazed red earthenware
Mrs. L. Manievich de Forest, New York
The Metropolitan Museum of Art Collection (1934-1952, no. 34.100.127)
Joe Kindig Jr., York, Pennsylvania
Joe Kindig III, York, Pennsylvania, 1975
American Radiance: The Ralph Esmerian Gift to the American Folk Art Museum, p. 143, fig. 106
The form and decorative embellishments of Spinner's earthenware productions clearly demonstrate his close association with the Neis family of potters and the conveyance of traditional styles through the established system of apprenticeship, Spinner's plates feature the same even-colored light-yellow slip ground layer and flourishes of copper oxide as seen on the early work of Johannes Neis, and both potters continued to produce the majority of their wares using the wheel rather than molds or forms. Based upon a comparison of a few rare signed examples, it is only in the details of Spinner's sgraffito carving of leafage, flowers, and vines that slight variations from those of the elder Neis can be observed. Spinner's open flowers are portrayed consistently with round centers, while Neis seems to have preferred a scallop-shaped center. Spinner's smaller leaves are simple, inverted comma shapes, a design seldom encountered on examples by Neis. And Spinner's use of curved lines flanked by rows of dots to portray the veining of leaves, or to suggest vines or feathered sprigs of foliage, is also his own interpretation. -J.L.L.
1 This plate was one of several collected by Edwin Atlee Barber, a pioneering scholar and curator at PMA who acquired numerous examples of Spinner's productions directly from the artist's descendants. An early paper label affixed to the back of this plate documents his ownership.
2 Additional, extensive genealogical information on Spinner and an in-depth analysis of his motifs as compared to those of Neis are in the research archives of the American Department, FMA.