American Decorative Arts
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Maker: American China Manufactory, American, 1769–1772
Maker formerly called: Bonnin and Morris, American
Maker formerly attributed: Seth Pennington, British, born 1744, w. c. 1765 - 1805

Basket

1770–72

Soft-paste porcelain

2 1/2 in. (6.4 cm) other: 3 11/16 in. (9.4 cm)
Mabel Brady Garvan Collection
1931.1883
This basket represents the earliest porcelain manufacture in America. Most domestic pottery production in the colonies consisted of earthenware crockery, made by local potters using local materials, and stoneware jugs and jars, which required more capital to cover fuel, transport of materials, and experimentation. For fine earthenware or porcelain, aspiring colonists relied on imports from Europe and Asia. Thus, it was a remarkable venture for an American firm to embark on the extraordinarily costly and technically challenging production of porcelain. This openwork basket form painted with blue pigment under the glaze imitates Chinese-inspired wares being made at the Worcester Porcelain Manufactory in England. The American China Manufactory benefited from an anti-importation movement but was ultimately unable to compete with foreign imports and closed after only two years of operation.
Geography: 
Made in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Culture: 
American
Period: 
18th century
Classification: 
Containers - Ceramic
Status: 
On view
Provenance: 

Dr. Edwin AtLee Barber (1851–1916), Philadelphia; consigned by his estate to Samuel T. Freeman and Company, Philadelphia, December 10–11, 1917, lot 50 (identified as Seth Pennington of Liverpool); sold to Francis P. Garvan, New York; given to Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, Connecticut, 1931

Bibliography: 

Handbook of the Collections, exh. cat. (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Art Gallery, 1992), 124, ill.

Robert Hunter, Ceramics in America (Milwaukee, WI: The Chipstone Foundation, 2002), 236–239, pl. 4, fig. 4.1, fig.4.2.

Note: This electronic record was created from historic documentation that does not necessarily reflect the Yale University Art Gallery’s complete or current knowledge about the object. Review and updating of such records is ongoing.