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Pitcher
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Title: Pitcher
Identifier: 2006.6.2
Donor: Ruth Denyer
Item Date: 1920-1930
Creation Date: 2011
Location: Benares Historic House

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Description: A hand-painted ceramic water pitcher. The mouth rim and handle edges are painted bluish green in a narrow 0.5 cm band. The mouth is wide (8 cm) with a gentle curve. The handle is a tight curve, and rises slightly above the mouth, the base joins the body near the middle of the body's curve. The handle is decorated with 5 motifs of graduated palm fronds in bluish green. The point where the upper handle joins to the body is decorated on the underside with 3 graduated ovals in bluish green. The outer main surface is decorated with 4 large cabbage roses in pink/red. each with several dark green leaves and brown, thorned branches. The inner surface is undecorated, originally white. The base rim is painted a very narrow (0.2 cm) bluish green band. The pitcher is imprinted on the outside bottom in black ink with " T. GOODE & CO SOUTH AUDLEY ST LONDON W". Part of a set with a wash basin.

Thomas Goode & Co., South Audley Street, London first opened for business in 1827. Since then the company has continued to design and manufacture bespoke fine bone china and has three warrants to supply the Royal Family.

Wemyss (pronounced weems) Ware was first produced by the pottery of Robert Heron & Son Kircaldy, Fife, Scotland from 1882-1930. Seeking a new look for his wares after a trip around Europe, Robert Heron decided to employ a group of Bohemian Artists. One of these was Karel Nekola who became artistic director and developed a range of decorative motifs and colour schemes that were used until 1930 when the factory closed down due to the Depression and changing tastes. Wemyss Ware utilized a secret technique of under-glaze painting - especially in a cabbage rose pattern. The quality of the painting is one of the hall-marks of Wemyss Ware. The underglaze technique used, with the design painted directly onto the biscuit-fired pottery gave the artist much greater freedom and allowed more subtle effects than the more common over-glaze method. One consequence of this technique was that, in order to preserve the colours, the glaze had to be fired at a relatively low temperature, which means that over time it almost always crazes.www.wemyss-ware.net.

This item belonged to author Mazo de la Roche and was part of her estate that was auctioned off by Ward & Price Auctioneers in the late 1960s. The donor's brother-in-law worked for this auction house and when the basin set didn't sell, he kept it and later gave it to his brother.

In 1927, Mazo de la Roche's (1879-1961) novel "Jalna" won the $10,000 first prize in a competition sponsored by Atlantic Monthly, this win led to the publishing of a series of novels about the Whiteoaks family of Jalna. The Jalna series was exceedingly popular, selling thousands of copies, with "Jalna" being turned into a movie and a television series. Mazo lived in Trail Cottage, which was located on property that had originally belonged to the Benares Estate. Mazo was friends with the Harrises and had visited Benares on several occasions. It has been speculated that the Benares House was Mazo's inspiration for her fictional Whitoaks family.
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