Lot 510
  • 510

Rare slipware glazed red earthenware plate with black tulips Southeastern Pennsylvania, dated 1816

30,000 - 40,000 USD
81,250 USD
bidding is closed


  • Glazed red earthenware
Surface slip: 1816


George Horace Lorimer, Philadelphia
Parke-Bernet Galleries, "Fine American & English Furniture Collected by the Late George Horace Lorimer," March 29-April 1, 1944, lot 443
Pennypacker Auction Center, Reading, Pennsylvania, June 1979, lot 118
James and Nancy Glazer, Philadelphia, 1984


"Swiss Folk Art: Celebrating America's Roots," American Folk Art Museum, 1991/92
"American Radiance: Highlights of the Ralph Esmerian Gift to the American Folk Art Museum," de Menil Gallery at Groton School, Groton, Massachusetts, October 15-December 15, 2002


American Radiance: The Ralph Esmerian Gift to the American Folk Art Museum, p. 138, fig. 98

Catalogue Note

This plate combines elements of both wheel-thrown and sheet-drape-molded techniques. Its angular outer wall, turned-over edge rim, and trimmed, squared foot are typical of a range of early Continental deep-dish forms made by immigrant earthenware potters in Pennsylvania. The turned-over rim, fashioned on a wheel by first thinning the plate's outer edge and then folding it over and smoothing its surface round, provided a thicker, more durable plate with a rim less susceptible to chipping than those with thin notched coggled edges. Unlike full sheet-drape-molded earthenware plates from the region, this plate has differing inner and outer profile contours because of the combination of techniques used to form it.

The crisp lines distinguishing the multiple colors and dense patterning of this plate make it a masterpiece of slip decoration. The layered applications of colored slips and their careful removal, reapplication, and overlaying required close familiarity with the clays and their interactions and properties when fired in the kiln. Once the plate was partially dry, the potter applied a yellow slip coat to the entire inner face, then placed it back on the wheel and formed the band of yellow by scraping away either side, exposing the red clay underneath. The dark brown band encircling the central floor of the plate was composed of manganese oxide slip, which was applied with a brush over the yellow slip coating while the plate rotated slowly on the wheel. Red and yellow "squiggle" lines were overlaid on these bands with a slip cup. Much like a relief carver, the potter carefully removed the yellow slip coating surrounding the central design of vines and tulips emanating from a heart. The remaining yellow slip elements were further highlighted with brushed copper green and manganese brown slips and the date "1816" applied using a slip cup. Finally, the plate received a coating of clear lead- and silica-based glazes and was fired to meld and unity the different designs ornamenting its surface. While the maker of this plate remains unknown, the methods and motifs relate closely to the work of several traditional Moravian and German Reformed potters working earlier in southeastern Pennsylvania, such as Abraham and George Hubener (1757-1828), John Leidy I (1764- 1846). and John Leidy II (1780-1838) (see cat. nos. 104, 113b).1 -J.L.L.

1 For related examples by these makers, see Garvan, Collection, pp. 175, 180, 182.