Grueby Faience Company vase

Description:

Before becoming an international phenomenon, the Arts and Crafts movement began with the ideas of British artisan William Morris (1834-1896) and writer John Ruskin (1819-1900). Morris and Ruskin believed that the growth of cities isolated urban workers and that mass production negatively affected artisan crafts. They proposed to solve these issues by returning to a medieval-inspired village model where everybody participated in a community lifestyle. In the United States, artisans adapted these ideas into the studio art pottery movement. Unlike their British counterparts, who often focused predominantly on social issues and therefore made objects that incorporated Gothic and Renaissance motifs, American craftsmen developed a cohesive and novel aesthetic.

The Grueby Faience Company was founded in 1894 by William Henry Grueby (1867-1925) in Revere, Massachusetts. In 1897, the company introduced a matte, waxy glaze that greatly resembles the color of cucumber skin. The glaze was applied to simple Japanese-inspired forms – like this vase with an overlapping leaf motif – and the Grueby Faience Company achieved international success. Grueby wares were sold in Paris at Siegfried Bing’s L’Art Nouveau and Tiffany Studios used Grueby vases as bases for some of their glass-topped lamps. Unlike many of its competitors, Grueby chose to mostly produce a single, recognizable glaze. Although other glaze colors are known to exist – the Metropolitan Museum of Art boasts a unique mustard-glazed example, for instance – Grueby ceramics are almost exclusively limited to that distinct green color.

Unfortunately, the company’s success was short-lived; the very glaze that had made the company famous would eventually lead to its downfall. Its signature green glaze became so iconic that the competition of mass-produced replicas forced the company to file for bankruptcy in 1911, and then, after a brief revival, to finally close its doors in 1920.

The Grueby Faience Company was founded in 1894 by William Henry Grueby (1867-1925) in Revere, Massachusetts. In 1897, the company introduced a matte, waxy glaze that greatly resembles the color of cucumber skin. The glaze was applied to simple Japanese-inspired forms – like this vase with an overlapping leaf motif – and the Grueby Faience Company achieved international success. Grueby wares were sold in Paris at Siegfried Bing’s L’Art Nouveau and Tiffany Studios used Grueby vases as bases for some of their glass-topped lamps. Unlike many of its competitors, Grueby chose to mostly produce a single, recognizable glaze. Although other glaze colors are known to exist – the Metropolitan Museum of Art boasts a unique mustard-glazed example, for instance – Grueby ceramics are almost exclusively limited to that distinct green color.

Unfortunately, the company’s success was short-lived; the very glaze that had made the company famous would eventually lead to its downfall. Its signature green glaze became so iconic that the competition of mass-produced replicas forced the company to file for bankruptcy in 1911, and then, after a brief revival, to finally close its doors in 1920.

Maker: Christian RegisterGrueby Faience Company

Location: Currently not on view

Place Made: United States: Massachusetts, Boston

See more items in: Home and Community Life: Ceramics and Glass, Art, Domestic Furnishings

Exhibition:

Exhibition Location:

Credit Line: Mrs. Marcus Benjamin

Data Source: National Museum of American History

Id Number: CE.379643Catalog Number: 379643Accession Number: 150313

Object Name: Vase

Physical Description: monochrome, green (overall surface decoration color name)ceramic (overall material)Measurements: overall: 8 1/2 in x 5 in; 21.59 cm x 12.7 cmoverall: 8 5/8 in x 5 5/16 in; 21.9075 cm x 13.5255 cm

Guid: http://n2t.net/ark:/65665/ng49ca746a3-de57-704b-e053-15f76fa0b4fa

Record Id: nmah_575791

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