Transferware Collectors Club, museum partner to launch online historic transferware exhibit

Thomas Mayer (Stoke) historical transferware platter.

Freeman's of Philadelphia sold this 17-inch long historical blue transferware platter at auction April 23, 2007, for $12,000. The platter is from Thomas Mayer, Stoke, circa 1830. Photo courtesy LiveAuctioneers.

WILMINGTON, Del. — Winterthur has announced the launch of “Patriotic America: Blue Printed Pottery Celebrating A New Nation,” a free interactive online exhibition.

Winterthur, the Transferware Collectors Club, and Historic New England have joined forces to develop this new online exhibition.

“Patriotic America” will serve as the definitive database of early English printed pottery with 19th-century images celebrating the new United States. It offers pottery historical data, a catalog of clear pattern images and transferware details, as well as dozens of makers’ marks for identification.

Made between 1818 and 1830, these dark blue printed wares are highly regarded because they illustrate important places and commemorate historical events of the early republic. The online exhibition offers a free and easy look into early America.

“Winterthur’s collection is uniquely relevant to this exhibition. We have partnered with great collectors whose holdings of rare and seldom-seen examples of printed dark blue Staffordshire make this an event of significant proportion,” says Pat Halfpenny, a project leader and former director of collections at Winterthur. “By putting the exhibition in an online forum, we are able to share scholarly insight and connect with people regardless of geographical boundaries.”

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“Patriotic America” offers a comprehensive set of images of America in the 1820s, documenting a time of great celebration in the country. In 1815, when trade between America and England resumed following the War of 1812, Staffordshire potters were eager to regain access to one of their most lucrative markets.

This virtual exhibition brings together the production of more than a dozen British potters who created an aesthetic that would be desirable to Americans eager to purchase objects highlighting their growing nation. Many of the images were inspired by paintings and engravings depicting the new nation’s landscape and notable architecture. Succeeding generations have treasured these wares, and they survive as a testament to the skills of the Staffordshire potter and the patriotism of his American consumer.

Both the pottery and the source prints that inspired them will be of interest to a broad range of ceramic enthusiasts, historians and archaeologists.

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