Monday, November 12, 2007

Staffordshire Slipware

(Grigsby, 1993, p.47)

Originally I was going to blog about the piece of North Italian (also known as Pisan) Slipware. However, I need to do some research on it and show the pieces to some colleagues to get some other opinions on the piece. So instead of the Pisan, we are going to learn about Staffordshire Slipware.

The Staffordshire district in England has been making pottery for centuries. In fact there is a written reference to a potter there in 1348 (Grigsby, 1993). Slipware production started to build in the mid-seventeenth century up through the end of the eighteenth century with it starting to disappear in the colonies after the 1770's.

The slipwares from Staffordshire came in different styles which have shown up on American sites of the eighteenth Century. These styles are known as relief-decorated, trailed, combed, and marbled slipware.

The pottery coming out of Staffordshire was usually made with local materials and at first were sold locally until the mid-eighteenth century. They vary in style but the colors are the same throughout. A yellow or brown paste with differing shades of brown slips and glazes.

The decoration varied from potter to potter. The relief decorated styles had press molded designs of roulettes, royal figures, flora and fauna. Many had the date and either the name of the potter or the owner of the piece.

Trailed slipware from the area had patterns of elaborate geometric and floral patterns and were usually unsigned or dated. The process of trailing on slipware is an interesting one. At first glance it looks sloppy until you see the pattern of allowing the slip to trail off from where it was applied to form "peaks and valleys" of the different patterns.

These are just two of the examples of the different types of Staffordshire slipwares that have surfaced on excavations and in museums. I will talk more about the other kinds on another day.

The pictures above show pieces of a staffordshire slipware from Port Tobacco and a dish of the Staffordshire Trailed Slipware from the seventeenth century.


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