A look at the design, market and legacy of Victorian pottery

Sunday, August 19, 2018

A Rare Survivor From the New York City Pottery

I recently heard from a reader who owns a rare marked piece of Carr American majolica. They were kind enough to share photos with me and I am happy to share them with you.

The first known American manufacturer of majolica is believed to be the New York City Pottery of James Carr. I’ve written about Carr majolica in the past. The main difficulty in discussing the New York City Pottery’s majolica is the lack of marked examples. The example owned by our reader is similar in shape to the one that appears in the collection of the Brooklyn museum but with an entirely different design and glaze treatment.

The vase is a hand thrown piece with what appears to be a scene of undulating flowering plants on the sides, boldly glazed in browns, blues, greens and yellows. It appears to be an underwater scene. It measures 7”x 13.5”. The rim is decorated with petal like leaf forms in the classical manner. The interior of the vase is glazed in a highly saturated reddish pink color. Along the inside rim of the piece is a flange, which implies that it once held a lid.

J. Carr majolica vase from a private collection

Top view of the Carr vase showing its brilliant pink lining.

It is marked  J Carr, City Pottery NY N3, H Lancaster, SC in hand written script on the base similar to other examples I have seen. It is undated. The foot has been repaired.

Underside of the Carr majolica vase

It's quite an extraordinary survivor from one of the most important American potteries of the 19th Century. You will go a long way before you see another.