by Lynne Constantine
Glenwood Manor Antique Center
Bill Grande loves to talk about collecting New York State Stoneware. On Sunday, August 16 at 2PM at the Glenwood Manor Antiques Center, Bill Grande will talk about collecting New York State Stoneware from 1800 to 1900. He will answer some of the questions that one might have about why the Hudson River area became such a major producer of American stoneware. He will also display and discuss some of the rare examples from his collection. Following the talk, Mr. Grande will offer free appraisals of stoneware during a show-and-tell session. Mr. Grande has been an avid collector and dealer of New York State stoneware for over 35 years. He lectures frequently at historical societies and museums. He was the manager of the Regent Street Antique Center and Museum in Saratoga for over 20 years where many people remember seeing his impressive collection of stoneware that was on display. He is currently one of the 30 antique dealers at the Glenwood Manor Antiques Center where he buys, sells, & trades stoneware. The event is free. For more information call 798-4747 or email [email protected]
In the 1800’s, before electricity and refrigeration, every American household had handmade stoneware in their kitchens. It was the “Tupperware” of the 18th and 19th Centuries. Crocks, jugs, butter churns, and bowls all were fired at a high enough temperature to make them water proof and hard, like a man-made stone. They were used in homes and businesses to store, pickle and preserve food. As stoneware companies became more competitive, the self-taught artists began decorating them with incised or applied cobalt blue decorations. Some of the designs can identify the maker and the time period. The size of the container was sometimes marked with a blue number. A number “2” means 2 gallons.
Stoneware containers can also be dated by their shape. The earlier pieces were ovoid shaped, and the later pieces were more cylindrical. Collectors look for blue decorations, the more blue the better. Unusual and more complex designs bring the highest prices. Flowers, squiggles and birds are common designs, but a variety of animals are also found. Lions, dogs, chickens, stags, horses, and even fish, are found as decorations. Designs that are very rare to find would be political motifs, buildings, ships, or people. At the end of the 1800’s, machine-made glass jars and tin cans replaced stoneware for food storage. Stoneware is now avidly sought and collected as examples of American folk art.
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