Large Mochaware Pitcher with Cat’s Eye Decoration



A large English mochaware pitcher with a cat’s eye pattern, ca. 1820.

What makes this pitcher so appealing is the contrast between the large cat’s eye decoration set against the pale gray and the smaller cat’s eye set against the rust colored ground. The cat’s eye pattern is based on a round dot usually composed of three colors of slip* which the turner of a lathe pours from a three-chambered slip cup. Here the drops are light blue, white and midnight brown.

Each piece of mochaware is unique depending on the choices of the artist. In contrast to the top and bottom bands of cat’s eye, the design in the center of the jug has a freedom of application which makes it look haphazard. It was the intention of the artist to give this haphazard look when in actuality the jug is turned on a lathe and the cat’s eye design is laid down in rigid rows. The cat’s eye dots have been sized and spaced irregularly, turned and twisted so that they become an entirely different type of decoration. The individuality of each cat’s eye design is what makes this piece so wonderful. Other lovely details are found on the handle which has especially beautiful leaf shaped, green glazed terminals (see images 6 and 7), and two bands of green glazed reeding at the top and bottom of the mug.

*Slip is a liquid mixture of clay suspended in water. It is often colored with oxides. Using a variety of techniques the colored slip is poured out onto the semi hard pottery piece.


For more information on Mochaware see “Mocha and Related Dipped” by Jonathan Rickard.


H 6.75 in. x D 8 in. x Dm 5.25 in.


Excellent. One very short small hairline invisibly restored.



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