tableware

The wide variety of ceramics made at potteries in Europe, Asia, the Spanish colonies in Mexico, and the United States, are represented by nearly 35,000 sherds from the Dog River site.

Colonial-period tin-glazed vessels are predominantly from France with fewer examples of Spanish colonial majolica and English and Dutch delft. By the last decades of the 18th century, England dominated the European production of ceramics exported to North America with wares such as creamware and pearlware, followed by the early 19th-century introduction of whiteware.

Fragments from eighty vessels of French faience were recovered from the Dog River site. The painted decorations are classified into regional styles of Rouen in eastern Normandy, Nevers in east-central France, and Moustiers in southern France. This Brittany Blue on White plate was found in a large pit from the Rochon family occupation. Plates with the same floral medallion were found in a refuse pit at Fort Toulouse, a French site dating from 1717 to 1763.

Green lead-glazed ceramics are attributed to potteries in the Saintonge region of southwestern France. These are primarily bowls used in food preparation.

English delft was readily available during the British colonial period from 1763 to 1780, and most of the English delft tablewares from the Dog River site once belonged to the Rochon family. English delft includes plates, platters, bowls, a charger, and an apothecary jar. This colorful sherd is probably from a punch bowl.

Decorations on Dutch delft are thickly painted in richer, deeper cobalt blues when compared to English delft. The Dutch delft probably dates to the second half of the 18th century and was in the households of the Rochon and Demouy families.
Spanish colonial majolica from the Dog River site includes Puebla Polychrome, Abó Polychrome, Puebla Blue on White (shown here), Aranama Polychrome, and Nopaltapec Polychrome. The few early pieces of Spanish colonial majolica, such as Puebla Polychrome and Abó Polychrome, was used by the Rochons while they lived at the Dog River plantation. The late 18th and early 19th-century majolica such as Aranama Polychrome and Nopaltapec Polychrome types were tablewares in the Demouy household. It seems likely that majolica made in colonies in Mexico was easily acquired during Mobile's Spanish colonial period from 1780 to 1813.
English white salt-glazed stoneware was quite common during its four decades of production from ca. 1730 to 1770, and it was produced in fairly elaborate shapes and fanciful molded decorations, as well as common tablewares. Decorations on plates include the dot, diaper, and basket weave pattern, the barley pattern (top row), and the bead and reel rim border (bottom left). These vessels were likely purchased by the Rochon family, although some may have passed as heirlooms to the Demouy family.One fragment of an English stoneware vessel has a medallion with "GR", the royal monogram for King George III (bottom right). This type of incised, molded, and painted decoration is found on vessels dating to the mid-1760s to the mid-1770s.
East of the Rhine River was the major stoneware manufacturing region of Westerwald (in present-day Germany). In this area known as Kannenbäckerland (pottery land), there were nine pottery communities active in the 18th century. One sherd of Westerwald stoneware (right) is from an elaborately decorated hollowware vessel that is nearly identical to patterns seen on jugs produced from the 1690s to the 1720s.
By the end of the 18th century, England dominated the production and export of ceramics to North America. Another common type of English-made pottery were vessels with clear lead-glazes that appears yellow with brown slip-trailed or combed decorations. These decorated lead-glazed ceramics were most common from the 1750s to the 1780s.
English creamware was a common tableware at North American colonial sites dating to the 1760s to the 1790s. Fragments of at least 39 creamware vessels were recovered from the Dog River site. Many plates have molded decorations such as the Feather Edge, the Royal Pattern, and the Queen's Pattern. Most of the creamware were possessions of Pierre Rochon and his family, however, some may have remained in the family into the Demouy occupation and the Spanish colonial period after 1780.
Pearlware primarily dates from the 1770s to the 1820s and was probably owned by the Demouy family. Sherds from at least 283 vessels were recovered from the Dog River excavations including plates, platters, cups and saucers, bowls, and tureens. Many vessels have blue or green edge-decorations, blue transfer-printed floral designs or English landscapes, the Willowware pattern, and mocha decorations.
English whiteware was used in the Hollinger home. Fragments of over 200 vessels were found at the Dog River site including plates, platters, cups and saucers, bowls, tureens, and pitchers. Many have the same types of painted and transfer-printed decoration seen on earlier pearlware. One Willowware plate has the backmark of the Herculanean pottery, which was in operation until 1841. A red transfer-printed plate with the Canova Pattern was made at the pottery of Thomas Mayer at Stoke on Trent prior to 1836.
Beginning in the 1830s and 1840s, numerous potters were operating kilns on the Eastern Shore of Mobile Bay. Most of the broken  stoneware vessels from the 1834 to 1848 Hollinger occupation of the Dog River plantation were probably made at these kilns. This salt-glazed jug from a private collection was made by François La Coste, who was born in France in 1816, and was one of the early potters on the Eastern Shore (photograph courtesy of Joey Brackner).
Porcelain from the Dog River site includes many vessels made at English potteries in imitation of Chinese export porcelain. Most of these vessels date to the Demouy occupation of the Dog River plantation from ca. 1780 to 1830. Many have blue underglaze decorations usually with geometric rim borders and floral patterns or landscapes.

Copyright © 2013 by The University of South Alabama
Last Updated:
Wednesday, August 14, 2013 2:56 PM