Wednesday, December 28, 2011

The Psychedelic Potter of Maryland's Great Valley

I spent this afternoon looking through the artifact collection from an old farm site near Sharpsburg in Maryland's Great Valley. The collection mainly dates to the 1770 to 1860 period. Besides all the usual stuff (see below), there were these two sherds of earthenware that are not like anything else I have ever seen. This must be a local potter. There was a strong tradition of making slip-decorated, coarse earthenware pans and pie plates in the Great Valley, mainly between 1760 and 1820. I have seen other fairly loud designs, but nothing this crazy. Imagine a pie plate made of this, a foot across. The mind boggles. I keep thinking, as I look through the coarse pottery from these valley sites, that there must be some collector or curator somewhere who would instantly recognize the work of various local potters. Alas, I have yet to find that person. Incidentally, these two sherds are the same color, I just shot them in different lights, which gives you a hint of how different artifacts can look depending on how you light them.

Refined wares, most likely made in England.

Locally-made coarse earthenware jars.

Slip-decorated redware plates, made locally or around Philadelphia.

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