Wednesday, January 20, 2010

If These Sherds Could Talk

Nichole: I learned about a new ceramic type today that I have never seen before. I was curious about two small rim fragments from the Market Master House collection that looked pretty unusual. They were thinly potted redware sherds with yellow and dark brown/black transfer printed decoration on both sides. (See bottom left photo.) With only having very small pieces, I was having a hard time imagining what the rest of the pot could possibly have looked like. The odd color combination and wild pattern made me think it must have been a gift that was only displayed when the person who gave it came to visit.

At a colleague’s suggestion, I looked for the mystery sherds in a wonderful reference book; Hume’s If These Pots Could Talk. Sure enough, there it was; a picture of a beautiful Portobello ware milk pitcher. Our once complete milk pitcher was imported from Scotland in the late eighteenth century. Since Bladensburg was a port town, its residents could easily access foreign goods. Portobello ware has also been found at Riversdale.

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