News-Antique.com - Nov 30,-0001 - in part 2 we discussed decorations used on Yelloware. One of the decorative techniques done on yellowware is called Rockingham. Be prepared when asking some dealers if they have Rockingham for sale they may say “No, but I have Bennington.”
Bennington, Vermont however was just one of the locations of yellow ware potteries in the USA producing rockingham as early as 1860.
Rockingham is actually a “type of decoration” in which a manganese brown glaze is applied to the yellowware. The potter determined the effect, amount, shade, as well as the pattern. That individuality is often what leads us to select one piece over another.
Rockingham production started with obtaining yelloware clay, removing impurities, then refining the clay into a workable consistency. Yelloware clay was then stored in a cool site until the potter was ready. Of note, there are some pieces of stoneware that turn up covered with a Rockinham glaze but those pieces are not covered in this article.
Most early pieces were turned or thrown on a potter’s wheel. Handles were applied to mugs, pitchers, jars & similar pieces after the body was formed.
The rockingham glaze varied from a very dark, almost molasses brown to lighter caramel or golden butterscotch color. Some pieces were actually dipped in glaze while others have only a light spattering of glaze applied.
Then there’s yet another term “spongeware”. Generally spongeware is so called because a glaze was “sponged” onto the piece using an applicator or sponge. Be careful when buying pieces described as “spongeware” sight unseen. Always ask if the piece you are interested in has a base of yelloware clay with a rockingham glaze. Some spongeware was made not from a yellow ware clay but stoneware or white clay. At this point then the decision is based solely on your preference, ours is yellow ware base.
Rockingham potteries were up and running in 1840 and were located in Vermont, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey and Ohio.
Rockingham pieces were very utilitarian, teapots, pitchers, bowls, plates, platters, banks, soap dishes, bedpans, ink wells even “window props”. Let’s not forget the gentleman’s favorite toby jugs and “flasks.”
There’s still more to discuss regarding yellow ware and rockingham, we’ll save that till another day. In the meantime happy antiquing.
Do you remember our advice about chips, dings, and hairlines? “Step back. Move away from the damaged item!” Our advice is always purchase the best pieces you can afford. Pursue quality NOT quantity!
Please don’t forget to help the victims of Hurricane Katrina in some way. Please “play it forward” and donate to the American Red Cross before buying antiques. IF however you can still buy a new piece of yellow ware or rockingham we are donating 10% of all September sales to the Hurricane Katrina fund through the American Red Cross.
Please contact us with your thoughts or searches as we have many more pieces of yellow ware & Rockingham not yet listed in our internet shop “An American Antique Adventure” http://TIAS.com/stores/mopedd