Rookwood vase

Rookwood vase

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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.
Rookwood developed a matte glaze around 1900 to compete with the forest-green hues of the popular Grueby Faience Company. Unlike Grueby’s glaze, which appears waxy and leafy, Rookwood’s interpretation often uses pastel tones with a vellum-like finish. The transition from Rookwood’s earlier “standard glaze” (a deep mahogany brown color gradating into yellow) showcases how competitive ceramics companies were able to preserve their art pottery production while keeping up with changing trends. Rookwood’s vellum glaze in particular helped the company win a Grand Prize at a 1904 international competition and was the company’s last internationally-recognized glaze.
Collectors often refer to vases decorated in this fashion as “Scenic Vellums” because of their glaze and depiction of romanticized landscapes. Decorator Edward George Diers painted this vase with a delicate birch pattern, alluding to the American art deco preference for linear decoration and stylized natural motifs. Records show that Diers began working for Rookwood as a decorator and designer in 1894. He left the company in 1931 – the same year he decorated this vase.
Rookwood developed a matte glaze around 1900 to compete with the forest-green hues of the popular Grueby Faience Company. Unlike Grueby’s glaze, which appears waxy and leafy, Rookwood’s interpretation often uses pastel tones with a vellum-like finish. The transition from Rookwood’s earlier “standard glaze” (a deep mahogany brown color gradating into yellow) showcases how competitive ceramics companies were able to preserve their art pottery production while keeping up with changing trends. Rookwood’s vellum glaze in particular helped the company win a Grand Prize at a 1904 international competition and was the company’s last internationally-recognized glaze.
Collectors often refer to vases decorated in this fashion as “Scenic Vellums” because of their glaze and depiction of romanticized landscapes. Decorator Edward George Diers painted this vase with a delicate birch pattern, alluding to the American art deco preference for linear decoration and stylized natural motifs. Records show that Diers began working for Rookwood as a decorator and designer in 1894. He left the company in 1931 – the same year he decorated this vase.
Location
Currently not on view
Object Name
Vase
vase
date made
1931
maker
Rookwood Pottery
place made
United States: Ohio, Cincinnati
Physical Description
polychrome (overall surface decoration color name)
ceramic (overall material)
Measurements
overall: 10 7/8 in x 5 3/4 in; 27.6225 cm x 14.605 cm
ID Number
CE.393622
catalog number
393622
accession number
208838
Credit Line
Page Kirk
See more items in
Cultural and Community Life: Ceramics and Glass
Domestic Furnishings
Art
Data Source
National Museum of American History
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