household of mixed patterns
Posted by Justin on August 16, 2011, 11:59 pm
I am an historical archaeologist currently excavating the property at an early nineteenth-century house in a village south of Rochester in western New York State, which was located on a lateral branch of the Erie Canal system. |
My team has recovered parts of many different transfer-printed wares at this site, most of them being English pearlware or ironstone. Very few of the dishes match. It appears that this well-to-do household used a mix of table settings including Caledonia, Willow, and many other views. Our archaeological samples include plates, bowls, teacups & saucers, and various serving pieces such as platters and ceramic ladles. They are transfer-printed in light, medium, and dark blue, brown, black, green, and polychrome. The pearlware collection includes annular wares, hand-painted sprig designs, and several different blue shell-edged patterns. We've also recovered undecorated creamware, salt-glazed stoneware, and hand-painted porcelain. Rather than owning a large matching set of dishware, this prominent family seemed to value variation. I can envision a cupboard full of many different and colorful designs. Is this typical for the time, place, and social position? I wonder if separate pieces were purchased individually, given as gifts, or exchanged with guests?