Saturday, August 29, 2015

POTTERY IN CONTEXT: AN UNEXPECTED DISCOVERY



  Guest Post by David Hoexter
August 2015


Coastal Sonoma County and the Pacific Ocean
I inspect properties for environmental hazards.  Recently a project brought me to rural Sonoma County, California, about 65 miles northwest of San Francisco.  That is, 65 miles as the crow flies, much further (and slower) as the truck drives.  The site was located at about 1,400 feet in elevation along a ridge paralleling the coast, was populated by an old apple orchard and an alpaca, and was surrounded by vineyards, redwood groves, and fields with dramatic views of the Pacific Ocean, way below.  Slopes on either side of the ridge were precipitous.  Rarely have I been paid to visit such a lovely place.


Sonoma Apple Orchard

The property was occupied by an old house, which turns out to have been a hotel and stagecoach stop in the second half of the 19th century on the route from the inland town of Santa Rosa to the coastal town of Gualala, via the out of the way town of Bodega.  The prominent industry was logging of redwood trees, and the roads, such as they were, would have been deeply rutted by logging equipment and transport.  The trip today, along the Russian River and bypassing Bodega, is about 67 miles and according to Google Maps, takes about two hours (often steep and curvy), but in the 1870s the route was much longer and required three days with two overnight stops.  To the traveler, it probably felt like six.


1870s photo of the house


Notice the stagecoach!

So at any rate, here I was in the home of the current resident, a delightful 90 years or so lady who had lived on the property since the early 1950s.  I’ll call her Clara (not her real name).  But so what?  The point of this is, that on a wall facing the front door, was a delightful array of items, and prominent (to me at least) was a lovely American advertising calendar plate.  I spotted it from across the room.  


Can you see the calendar plate on the wall?

Further perusal quickly established that the merchant, who had given away the plate to his customers, was W. A. Wernecke, “The” Butcher, whose phone was Main 84.  Location not evident.  I recognized the pattern from 1910, and thought I recognized the name “Wernecke”.  On returning home, I found that my eBay research of calendar plates (conducted religiously since November 2010) had already netted two examples of the same plate, and that one of the eBay sellers identified Wernecke’s location as Santa Rosa, California.  A quick Internet search resulted in confirmation from two Google Book sources:  I found a 1902 advertisement for W.A. Wernecke, “Dealer in all kinds of Fresh and Salted Meats, Sausage, Lard, etc”; and a 1910 listing in a May 1910 publication of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows of the State of California (IOOF), announcing W.A. Wernecke’s death.  So sadly, Wernecke was not able to benefit from his advertising give-away. 


Advertising calendar plate

W.A Wernecke The Butcher! (hard to see advertising on the plate above).

Returning now to the owner of the plate, I learned that the plate had belonged to Clara’s mother, who had in fact lived in the Santa Rosa area.  Most likely, Clara’s mother, or perhaps her grandmother, was the recipient of the plate, directly from the hands of the butcher, W.A. Wernecke.

For those who may have missed it, I discussed advertising calendar plates in a previous Dishy News posting.  Briefly, advertising calendar plates were American-produced and widely distributed between 1906 and 1921, with production peaking in 1910.  They were complimentary gifts from merchants to their customers, and although some of the merchants were located in cities and larger towns (such as Santa Rosa), many were located in extremely remote and very small towns, often with only a few hundred population and a few hundred more in the surrounding area. For more information, read my earlier blog.

For nearly five years I’ve documented the American advertising calendar plate, and now have about 1,500 in my database.  The endeavor is time consuming but academically and aesthetically pleasing, and I’ve purchased not a few as examples.  But for all the research and buying, nothing has given me more pleasure than to see a treasured example in the living room of a 90 year old lady living miles from the nearest real town on a ridge overlooking the Pacific Ocean.  

Sonoma County Coastline


Sea Life at the mouth of the nearby Russian River/Notice seals and birds (pelicans, cormorants and seagulls).


Resident Alpaca Resting in His Apple Orchard





Monday, August 17, 2015

FOR A DEAR CHILD WHO IS STARTING SCHOOL


William Adams III (& S) 1804-1829 5.75 inch child's plate, ca. 1820.

My beloved granddaughter starts kindergarten today.  She is embarking on a new part of her life.  I remember my first day of kindergarten in September 1949.  It was both exciting and frightening; who would I meet and who would be my friend?  Already, I was more interested in the social aspects of school rather than the academics!

Below are two five year old girls separated by 66 years, but united by love.




I hope Maya loves school as much as I did. 

If you want to see more transferware school patterns, look at my blog posts "Love Your School And Books" and "School And Transferware."


Alphabet yellow glazed 2.35 inch child's mug, ca. 1820.  The mug was both a gift and a teaching tool.
 





Saturday, August 8, 2015

THE LEARNED DOG REDUX AND BITS AND PIECES





"The Learned Dog" on the cover of "Dishy Animals ABC."

I purchased a damaged yellow ware (or yellowware) pot and cover because I recognized the dog on the lid.  It was the same dog that patterns my yellow glazed earthenware child's mug (see below).  The pattern also graces (I love this pattern) the cover of my children's alphabet book "Dishy Animals ABC."  I even wrote about it in a blog post titled "Transferware Dogs or "The Learned Dog."


Child's yellow glazed 2.25 inch mug "The Learned Dog" and lid from a yellow ware pot.  The difficult to decipher print under the dog says (I think) "The Young Sportsman."

Child's yellow glazed mug "The Learned Dog" (standing on a mixed up alphabet) and the other side of the yellow ware lid with the mixed up alphabet.  The alphabet was used as a teaching tool.

I have long been fascinated by items that are printed with patterns that appear to be random bits and pieces.  The pot above is one of them.  Obviously, it is also poorly printed; a bit slap dash!  The printing is blurred and parts are missing.   My theory is the patterns were available for young potters learning how to transfer.  Certainly, the person who printed the Potters' Art poem needed more practice!  And, "The Young Sportsman" title under the dog leaves a lot of room for improvement.  The singing birds with the title "For Innocence & Truth" is the most successful print, although a bit uneven.


Yellow ware printed pot/"Innocence & Truth/Probably the best print on on the pot.

Poor quality printing on one side of the lidded pot.

I could only make out the first line of the "Potters' Art" because it appears on my yellow printed brownware mug.

Hard to say exactly what the caption says under the dog.  Perhaps it is "For A Young Sportsman."

I would love some feedback about my transfer practice theory.  I would even like to know the use of this pot.   Did it have anything to do with children?  The Potters' Art poem, the jumbled alphabet, and the dog are all found on items made for children.

Sunday, August 2, 2015

RECOGNITION OF THE FAMILIAR AND TRANSFERWARE COWS

Eleven inch coffee pot

The cow pattern on a rather battered coffee pot seemed familiar.  Once the pattern was imprinted on my brain,  I saw it everywhere!  Well, not exactly everywhere, but I did find the three cows (sometimes two cows) on four other pieces; a child's plate, a platter, a creamer, and a cup plate. 


Close-up of the three cows.  Is the standing cow facing the right actually a bull?

Child's plate printed with three cows, ca. 1830.  The dark blue cow/bull is hard to see.

Davenport (1794-1887) Wiseton Hall 10.5 inch platter, ca. 1825. 

There are only two cows on this 1820s creamer (facing in the opposite direction from the cows above).

The creamer is the same on the other side.

Four inch cup Plate with two cows/It seems to be from the same tea service as the creamer above.

I imagine the third cow is missing from the cup plate because it is only 4 inches in diameter.  The creamer is also quite small.

As much as I enjoyed finding the same cows (albeit in different patterns and by different makers), I really like most cows patterns, so here are a few more.

William Adams  III (1804-1829) 10 inch plate known as Three Cows.  It is from a series of domestic animal scenes known as Pastorals.  The Transferware Collectors Club Pattern And Source Print Database shows 18 patterns in this series.


Shell edge 4.25 inch cup plate with two cows and two sheep, ca. 1820


Saucer, known as Cow Polisher, ca. 1820/Although hard to see, it looks as if the man is holding a milk skimmer or saucer.


So called Salopian Cow Polisher Coffee Pot printed in brown and colored under the glaze with high fire colors.  What is Salopian?  See my blog post "Salopian Or Not?"

Cows were very popular on children's mugs and plates.  They still are today.


Child's mug "Cows"

Child's yellow glazed 2 inch mug printed in iron red, ca. 1820


Alphabet 5.12 inch plate "Cow, Cat, Clown."  This type of pattern was used to teach the alphabet.


Child's 6 inch plate


A rather elegant bat printed porcelain Spode dish. 

Spode (1770-1833) 7.25 inch porcelain dish bat printed with three cows at a stream.  The series number is 557.

One pattern does lead to another.  My final cow patterns are on my dresser. 


From left, Davenport 9.75 inch plate; J. & W. Handley (1820-1830) plate; John & William Ridgway "Rural Scenery" 9.75 inch soup plate

If you have a favorite cow pattern, let me know.