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Luke Beckerdite and Johanna Brown
Eighteenth-Century Earthenware from North Carolina: The Moravian Tradition Reconsidered

Ceramics in America 2009

Full Article
Contents
  • Figure 1
    Figure 1

    Dish, Salem, North Carolina, 1775–1795. Lead-glazed earthenware. D. 13". (Courtesy, Old Salem Museums & Gardens; unless otherwise noted, photos by Gavin Ashworth.) 

  • Figure 2
    Figure 2

    Dish, probably southern Alamance County, North Carolina, 1790– 1820. Lead-glazed earthenware with polychrome slip decoration. D. 10". (Courtesy, Old Salem Museums & ­Gardens.) 

  • Figure 3
    Figure 3

    L. F. Schmuz, View of Herrnhut, Dresden, Germany, 1775–1800. Engraving on paper. 17 x 21 1/4". (Courtesy, Old Salem Museums & Gardens; photo, Wesley Stewart.) 

  • Figure 4
    Figure 4

    Christian Gottlieb Reuter, Map of Wachovia, Salem, North Carolina, 1766. Ink and watercolor on paper. 18 1/2 x 11 3/8". (Courtesy, Unity Archives, Herrnhut.) 

  • Figure 5
    Figure 5

    A Compleat Map of North Caro­lina from an Actual Survey, published by John Collett, London, 1770. The red line shows the approximate boundaries of the Wachovia tract. (Courtesy, Old Salem Museums & Gardens.)

  • Figure 6
    Figure 6

    Prospect of Bethabara, Bethabara, North Carolina, ca. 1757. Drawing on paper. 10 1/2 x 14 3/4". (Courtesy, Moravian Archives, Herrnhut.)

  • Figure 7
    Figure 7

    Detail of Prospect of Bethabara showing Aust’s pottery shop at the corner of the fort. 

  • Figure 8
    Figure 8

    Composite illustration showing glazed and bisque mug fragments recovered at Gottfried Aust’s pottery site, Bethabara, North Carolina, 1756–1770. H. 3 3/8" (glazed on left). (Courtesy, Old Salem Museums & Gardens.) The base on the left is coated with an iron-bearing lead glaze, whereas the base on the right received only a bisque firing. The bottom of the glazed mug is incised with a mark that appears to be the letters H and P conjoined. These mug fragments are probably similar to those used for Love Feast, a religious service that included a simple meal of bread and coffee or tea. Most of the artifacts excavated at Bethabara are housed at Old Salem Museums & Gardens under a custodial agreement between that institution Historic Bethabara Park, and the Southern Province of the Moravian Church. Artifacts in the archaeological collection of Historic Bethabara Park are identified by that organization’s name in the credit line.

  • Figure 9
    Figure 9

    Jug, recovered at Gottfried Aust’s pottery site, Bethabara, North Carolina, 1756–1770. Bisque-fired earthenware. H. 8 3/4". (Courtesy, Historic Bethabara Park.) 

  • Figure 10
    Figure 10

    Funnel, recovered at Gottfried Aust’s pottery site, Bethabara, North Carolina, 1756–1770. Lead-glazed earthenware. H. 6 3/8". (Courtesy, Historic Bethabara Park.) 

  • Figure 11
    Figure 11

    Cook pot, recovered at Gottfried Aust’s pottery site, Bethabara, North Carolina, 1756–1770. Lead-glazed earthenware. H. 5". (Courtesy, Old Salem Museums & Gardens.)

  • Figure 12
    Figure 12

    Base and top of a candlestick and a fat lamp, recovered at Gottfried Aust’s pottery site, Bethabara, North Carolina, 1756–1770. Bisque-fired earthenware (candlestick fragments) and lead-glazed earthenware (lamp). H. 4 3/4"(lamp). (Courtesy, Historic Bethabara Park.) 

  • Figure 13
    Figure 13

    Composite illustration showing overalls and marly details of bisque-fired and lead-glazed dishes recovered at Gottfried Aust’s pottery site, Bethabara, North Carolina, 1756–1770. D. 14 3/4" (top), 12 1/4" (bottom). (Courtesy, Old Salem Museums & Gardens.) 

  • Figure 14
    Figure 14

    Detail showing the back of the bisque-fired dish illustrated in fig. 13.

  • Figure 15
    Figure 15

    Teabowl, recovered at Gottfried Aust’s pottery site, Bethabara, North Carolina, 1756–1770. Bisque-fired earthenware. D. 3 3/8". (Courtesy, Historic Bethabara Park.) 

  • Figure 16
    Figure 16

    Teapots, attributed to Gottfried Aust’s pottery, Bethabara, North Carolina, 1756–1770. Lead-glazed earthenware. (Courtesy, Historic Bethabara Park [left], Old Salem Museums & Gardens [center], and private collection [right].) The archaeological examples were recovered at Aust’s site; the example at the far right descended in a family from Randolph County, North Carolina. 

  • Figure 17
    Figure 17

    Bowl fragment, recovered at Gottfried Aust’s pottery site, Bethabara, North Carolina, 1756–1770. Bisque-fired earthenware. (Courtesy, Historic Bethabara Park; photo, Wesley Stewart.) When successfully glazed and fired, this example would have resembled the bowl illustrated in fig. 18, right. 

  • Figure 18
    Figure 18

    Slip-decorated bowls, Bethabara or Salem, North Carolina, ca 1785 (left); Bethabara, North Carolina, 1786–1789 (right). Lead-glazed earthenware. D. 6". (Private collection [left]; Courtesy, Old Salem Museums & Gardens [right].) The archaeological example on the right was recovered from the site of the gunsmith’s shop at Bethabara and probably was made by Rudolph Christ, although Gottfried Aust produced similar examples, as illustrated in fig. 17.

  • Figure 19
    Figure 19

    Dish fragments, recovered at Gottfried Aust’s pottery site, Bethabara, North Carolina, 1756–1770. Bisque-fired earthenware. (Courtesy, Historic Bethabara Park.) 

  • Figure 20
    Figure 20

    Dish fragment, recovered at Gottfried Aust’s pottery site, Bethabara, North Carolina, 1756–1770. Bisque-fired earthenware. (Courtesy, Historic Bethabara Park.) 

  • Figure 21
    Figure 21

    Dish, Germany, 1740–1760. Lead-glazed earthenware. D. 12 1/2". (Courtesy, Old Salem Museums & Gardens.) 

  • Figure 22
    Figure 22

    Detail of the back of the dish illustrated in fig. 21.

  • Figure 23
    Figure 23

    Ludwig Gottfried von Redeken, A View of Salem in North Carolina, 1788. (Courtesy, Old Salem Museums & Gardens; photo, Wesley Stewart.)

  • Figure 24
    Figure 24

    Details of marks on a dish made at Bethabara (top) and a dish made at Salem (bottom). (Courtesy, Old Salem Museums & Gardens.)

  • Figure 25
    Figure 25

    Shop sign made during Aust’s tenure as master of the pottery at Salem, North Carolina, 1773. Lead-glazed earthenware. D. 21 3/4". (Courtesy, Wachovia Historical Society.) Attached to the back are two clay lugs pierced to receive the cord from which the sign hung. The exceptional condition of this object suggests that it hung inside Aust’s shop. 

  • Figure 26
    Figure 26

    Detail of the decoration on the dish illustrated in fig. 25. Layout lines are visible above and below the letters.

  • Figure 27
    Figure 27

    Detail of the decoration on the dish illustrated in fig. 25.

  • Figure 28
    Figure 28

    Dish, Nevers, France, ca. 1685. Tin-glazed earthenware. D. 8 1/4". (Courtesy, Musée National de Céramique, Sèvres.)

  • Figure 29
    Figure 29

    Jan Davidsz de Heem, Vase of Flowers, Holland, ca. 1660. Oil on canvas. 27 3/8 x 22 1/4". (Courtesy, Board of Trustees, National Gallery of Art, Andrew W. Mellon Fund.)

  • Figure 30
    Figure 30

    Dish, probably made during Aust’s tenure as master of the pottery at Salem, North Carolina, 1775–1785. Lead-glazed earthenware. D. 13 3/4". (Courtesy, Old Salem Museums & Gardens.) The flowers depicted on this dish are roses. Nearly identical representations of those flowers can be found in early botanical prints.

  • Figure 31
    Figure 31

    Dish, probably made during Aust’s tenure as master of the pottery at Salem, North Carolina, 1775–1785. Lead-glazed earthenware. D. 11 3/4". (Courtesy, The Barnes Foundation.) 

  • Figure 32
    Figure 32

    Dish, probably made during Aust’s tenure as master of the pottery at Salem, North Carolina, 1775–1785. Lead-glazed earthenware. D. 13 3/4". (Courtesy, Old Salem Museums & Gardens.) 

  • Figure 33
    Figure 33

    Detail of the decoration on the dish illustrated in fig. 32.

  • Figure 34
    Figure 34

    “Anemones Latisfol Species,” in Emanuel Sweerts, Florilegium amplissium et selectissimum, Amsterdam, 1647. Copperplate engraving with later color. 13 x 8 1/2". (Courtesy, Old Church Gallery, Chelsea, London.) Sweerts’s Florilegium was originally published in Frankfurt in 1612.

  • Figure 35
    Figure 35

    Dish, Salem, North Carolina, 1780–1800. Lead-glazed earthenware. D. 11 5/8". (Courtesy, Old Salem Museums & Gardens.) 

  • Figure 36
    Figure 36

    Dish, Salem, North Carolina, 1780–1800. Lead-glazed earthenware. D. 13 3/4". (Courtesy, Old Salem Museums & Gardens.) 

  • Figure 37
    Figure 37

    Dish, Salem, North Carolina, 1780–1800. Lead-glazed earthenware. D. 14 3/4". (Courtesy, Old Salem Museums & Gardens.) This dish descended in the Hall family of Salem. 

  • Figure 38
    Figure 38

    Dish fragment, recovered at Salem, North Carolina, 1780–1800. Lead-glazed earthenware. (Courtesy, Old Salem Museums & Gardens.) 

  • Figure 39
    Figure 39

    Dish fragments, recovered at Lot 49, Salem, North Carolina, 1780– 1800. Bisque-fired earthenware. (Courtesy, Old Salem Museums & Gardens.) Lot 49 was adjacent to the pottery. 

  • Figure 40
    Figure 40

    Plate, Salem, North Carolina, 1780–1800. Lead-glazed earthenware. D. 9 1/4". (Courtesy, The Barnes Foundation.) 

  • Figure 41
    Figure 41

    Plate, Salem, North Carolina, 1780–1800. Lead-glazed earthenware. D. 9 1/4". (Courtesy, The Barnes Foundation.) 

  • Figure 42
    Figure 42

    Dish, probably Salem, North Carolina, 1775–1800. Lead-glazed earthenware. D. 11". (Courtesy, Old Salem Museums & Gardens.) This dish and the example illustrated in fig. 43 descended in the Ellers family of Rowan County. 

  • Figure 43
    Figure 43

    Dish, probably Salem, North Carolina, 1775–1800. Lead-glazed earthenware. D. 11". (Courtesy, Old Salem Museums & Gardens.) This dish and the example illustrated in fig. 42 descended in the Ellers family of Rowan County. 

  • Figure 44
    Figure 44

    Dish, probably made during Aust’s tenure as master of the pottery at Salem, North Carolina, 1775–1785. Lead-glazed earthenware. D. 13". (Courtesy, The Henry Ford.)

  • Figure 45
    Figure 45

    Dish, probably Salem, North Carolina, 1772–1820. D. 13". (Courtesy, Old Salem Museums & Gardens.) 

  • Figure 46
    Figure 46

    Saucer and bowl, probably Salem, North Carolina, 1772–1820. D. 6 1/4" (saucer). (Courtesy, Old Salem Museums & Gardens.)

  • Figure 47
    Figure 47

    Sugar bowl, probably Salem, North Carolina, 1772–1820. H. 6". (Courtesy, High Museum of Art.)

  • Figure 48
    Figure 48

    Teapot, recovered at Lot 49, Salem, North Caro­lina, 1774–1786. Lead-glazed earthenware. L. 7". (Courtesy, Old Salem Museums & Gardens.) This important object might have been produced by William Ellis during his 1774 visit to the Salem pottery or was a later creation of Rudolph Christ. 

  • Figure 49
    Figure 49

    Sprig mold, Salem, North Carolina, ca. 1780. High-fired clay. L. 2". (Courtesy, Old Salem Museums & Gardens.) The back of this mold bears the initials “RC” for Rudolph Christ. Given the fact that the initials were cut after firing, it is possible that this mold is one of those Christ stole from the Salem pottery in 1779. 

  • Figure 50
    Figure 50

    Teapot handle, recovered at Lot 49, Salem, North Carolina, 1774–1786. Lead-glazed earthenware. (Courtesy, Old Salem Museums & Gardens.) The teapot to which this handle belongs might have been produced by William Ellis during his 1774 visit to the Salem pottery or was a later creation of Rudolph Christ.

  • Figure 51
    Figure 51

    Plate mold, Rudolph Christ, Bethabara, North Carolina, 1789. Plaster. D. 10 7/8". (Courtesy, Wachovia Historical Society.) 

  • Figure 52
    Figure 52

    Detail showing the inscription on the mold illustrated in fig. 51: “R. C / Bethabara / Jan. 6.~ / 1789.”

  • Figure 53
    Figure 53

    Dish, recovered at Rudolph Christ’s pottery site, Bethabara, North Carolina, 1786–1789. Lead-glazed earthenware. D. 9 3/4". (Courtesy, Historic Bethabara Park.) 

  • Figure 54
    Figure 54

    Detail of the back of the dish illustrated in fig. 53. 

  • Figure 55
    Figure 55

    Detail of the dish illustrated in fig. 53, showing the pink body and white slip. 

  • Figure 56
    Figure 56

    Dish fragments, recovered at Rudolph Christ’s pottery site, Bethabara, North Carolina, 1786–1789. Bisque-fired earthenware. (Courtesy, Old Salem Museums & Gardens.) A small amount of glaze, inadvertently dripped on the marly, shows how the outermost concentric and wavy slip lines would have appeared after firing.

  • Figure 57
    Figure 57

    Dish fragment, recovered at Rudolph Christ’s pottery site, Bethabara, North Carolina, 1786–1789. Bisque-fired earthenware. (Courtesy, Historic Bethabara Park.) 

  • Figure 58
    Figure 58

    Dish fragment, recovered at the site of the gunsmith’s shop occupied by Rudolph Christ, Bethabara, North Carolina, 1786–1789. Bisque-fired earthenware. (Courtesy, Historic Bethabara Park.)

  • Figure 59
    Figure 59

    Ring bottle, recovered at Lot 49, Salem, North Carolina, 1793–1800. Tin-glazed earthenware. H. 7". (Courtesy, Old Salem Museums & Gardens.)

  • Figure 60
    Figure 60

    Plate fragments, recovered at Lot 49, Salem, North Carolina, 1793–1800. Tin-glazed earthenware. (Courtesy, Old Salem Museums & Gardens.) 

  • Figure 61
    Figure 61

    Ring bottle, Salem, North Carolina, 1795–1810. Lead-glazed earthenware. H. 4". (Private collection.)

  • Figure 62
    Figure 62

    Dish, probably made during Rudolph Christ’s tenure as master of the pottery at Salem, North Carolina, 1790–1810. Lead-glazed earthenware. D. 13 1/2". (Courtesy, Old Salem Museums & Gardens.) 

  • Figure 63
    Figure 63

    Dish, probably made during Rudolph Christ’s tenure as master of the pottery at Salem, North Carolina, 1790–1810. Lead-glazed earthenware. D. 12 1/2". (Courtesy, Old Salem Museums & Gardens.) 

  • Figure 64
    Figure 64

    Dish, probably made during Rudolph Christ’s tenure as master of the pottery at Salem, North Carolina, 1790–1810. Lead-glazed earthenware. D. 14". (Private collection; photo, James and Nancy Glazer American Antiques.)

  • Figure 65
    Figure 65

    Dish fragment, Salem, North Carolina, 1790–1810. Lead-glazed earthenware. (Courtesy, Old Salem Museums & Gardens.) 

  • Figure 66
    Figure 66

    Dish fragment, Salem, North Carolina, 1790–1810. Lead-glazed earthenware. (Courtesy, Old Salem Museums & Gardens.) 

  • Figure 67
    Figure 67

    Dish, recovered at Lot 49, Salem, North Carolina, 1790–1810. Lead-glazed earthenware. D. 9 1/4". (Courtesy, Old Salem Museums & Gardens.)

  • Figure 68
    Figure 68

    Dish fragment, recovered at Gottfried Aust’s pottery site, Bethabara, North Carolina, 1756–1770. Bisque-fired earthenware. (Courtesy, Old Salem Museums & Gardens.) 

  • Figure 69
    Figure 69

    Dish fragments, recovered at the site of Gottlob Krause’s pottery, Bethabara, North Carolina, 1790–1800. Bisque-fired earthenware. (Courtesy, Historic Bethabara Park.) 

  • Figure 70
    Figure 70

    Dish fragment, recovered at the site of Gottlob Krause’s pottery, Bethabara, North Carolina, 1790–1800. Bisque-fired earthenware. (Courtesy, Historic Bethabara Park.) 

  • Figure 71
    Figure 71

    Dish, Friedrich Rothrock, Forsyth County, North Carolina, 1793–1800. Lead-glazed earthenware. D. 11 5/8". (Courtesy, Old Salem Museums & Gardens.) 

  • Figure 72
    Figure 72

    Dish, Friedrich Rothrock, Forsyth County, North Carolina, 1793–1800. Lead-glazed earthenware. D. 11". (Private collection.) 

  • Figure 73
    Figure 73

    Jug, Friedrich Rothrock, Forsyth County, North Carolina, 1793–1800. Lead-glazed earthenware. H. 9 3/4". (Private collection.) 

  • Figure 74
    Figure 74

    Detail of the dish illustrated in fig. 71, showing the impressed mark on the back.

  • Figure 75
    Figure 75

    Dish, attributed to George Hubener, Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, 1789. Lead-glazed earthenware. D. 12 1/2". (Courtesy, Philadelphia Museum of Art; gift of John T. Morris.)

  • Figure 76
    Figure 76

    Hendrick Goltzius, Youth with a Skull and a Tulip, Holland, 1614. Ink on paper. 18 1/2 x 13 7/8". (Courtesy, The Pierpont Morgan Library, New York.)

  • Figure 77
    Figure 77

    Dish, attributed to George Hubener, Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, ca. 1785. Lead-glazed earthenware. D. 12 1/2". (Courtesy, Philadelphia Museum of Art; Baugh-Barber Fund.)

  • Figure 78
    Figure 78

    Hans Memling, Flower Still-Life, Holland, ca. 1485. Oil on oak panel. 11 1/2 x 8 7/8". (Courtesy, Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid.)

  • Figure 79
    Figure 79

    Illuminated manuscript, designed by Friedrich von Watteville and executed by P. J. Ferber, Herrnhut, Germany, 1775. Ink and watercolor on paper. 27 x 37". (Courtesy, Old Salem Museums & Gardens.)

  • Figure 80
    Figure 80

    Detail of the illuminated manuscript illustrated in fig. 79. 

  • Figure 81
    Figure 81

    Unknown artist, painting depicting the Crucifixion of Christ, Herrnhut, Germany, ca. 1750. Watercolor on paper. Dimensions not recorded. (Courtesy, Unity Archives, Herrnhut.)

  • Figure 82
    Figure 82

    Unknown artist, devotional card, Herrnhut, Germany, ca. 1750. Watercolor and thread on paper. Dimensions not recorded. (Courtesy, Unity Archives, Herrnhut.)

  • Figure 83
    Figure 83

    Dish, probably made during Aust’s tenure as master of the pottery at Salem, North Carolina, 1775–1785. Lead-glazed earthenware. D. 14 1/8". (Courtesy, High Museum of Art.)

  • Figure 84
    Figure 84

    Detail of the decoration on the dish illustrated in fig. 32. The round, podlike designs on the stem probably were intended to represent lilies of the valley, which also appear on the dish fragments illustrated in fig. 69.

  • Figure 85
    Figure 85

    Period botanical showing red anemones. (John Gerard, The Herbal: or, General History of Plants [1633; repr., New York: Dover Publications, 1975], p. 379.)

  • Figure 86
    Figure 86

    Period botanical showing lilies of the valley. (Gerard, The Herbal, p. 410.)

  • Figure 87
    Figure 87

    John Valentine Haidt, Cornelius Foreseeing His Christianity, Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, ca. 1755. Oil on canvas. 24 5/8 x 20". (Courtesy, Old Salem Museums & Gardens.) Haidt’s paintings were used as educational tools in Moravian congregations throughout Europe and America. The flowers illustrated in this painting were symbolically charged, as suggested by the rose held by the Christ Child as he gazes into his mother’s eyes. In Christian theology, Christ is described as the rose among thorns and Mary as the rose without thorns. Roses also served as symbols for the messianic promise and the Virgin Mary. Not surprisingly, roses are common on eighteenth-century Wachovia slipware (see fig. 30).

  • Figure 88
    Figure 88

    Detail of the white anemone in the foreground of the painting illustrated in fig. 87.

  • Figure 89
    Figure 89

    Detail of a flower on the dish illustrated in fig. 63.

  • Figure 90
    Figure 90

    Raffaellino del Garbo, Madonna Enthroned with Saints and Angels, Italy, 1502. Oil on panel. 78 x 82 1/2". (Courtesy, Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco; gift of the Samuel Kress Foundation.)

  • Figure 91
    Figure 91

    Sandro Botticelli, Madonna of the Pomegranate, ca. 1487. Tempera on wood panel. D. 56 1/2". (Courtesy, Galleria degli Uffizi, Florence.)

  • Figure 92
    Figure 92

    Dish fragment, recovered from an unidentified cellar, Bethabara, North Carolina, 1760–1770. Lead-glazed earthenware. (Courtesy, Historic Bethabara Park.)

  • Figure 93
    Figure 93

    Composite illustration showing different representations of pomegranates in Bethabara and Salem slipware. The details are taken from the dish fragment illustrated in fig. 92 (left), the dish illustrated in fig. 67 (middle), and the dish illustrated in fig. 62 (right ).

  • Figure 94
    Figure 94

    Dish, probably made during Rudolph Christ’s tenure as master of the pottery at Salem, North Carolina, 1790–1810. Lead-glazed earthenware. D. 15 1/2". (Courtesy, The Barnes Foundation.) 

  • Figure 95
    Figure 95

    Detail of the decoration on the shop sign illustrated in fig. 25.

  • Figure 96
    Figure 96

    Unknown artist, devotional card, Herrnhut, Germany, ca. 1750. Watercolor on paper. Dimensions not recorded. (Courtesy, Unity Archives, Herrnhut.)