Made in England, circa 1825, this quart mug is a masterpiece of mochaware. It is beautiful and has a strong presence.
The mug is decorated with a band of impressed green glazed design around the top edge. Below that are thin alternating bands of burnt orange and midnight brown slip. In the center of the body are eight thin bands of grey slip laid one next to the other creating a broad field of grey. This field is decorated with brown “trees”. Each “tree” is unique.
In his book Mocha and related dipped wares, 1770-1939, Jonathan Rickard states “The most recognizable type of mocha decoration is the tree.” The tree like pattern is the result of a dynamic process in which the contact line between two liquids, the acidic dark brown coloring and the alkaline slip becomes unstable. The instability is driven by the acid/base chemical reaction. Rickard explains the process: Instead of leaving the pot on the lathe, the turner removed it and carefully held it bottom up. Then he dipped the brush into the dark brown acidic concoction and touched the brush just outside the bottom edge of the broadest slip band, whereupon the dark brown coloring ran quickly downwards while spreading its branches.
H 4.85 in. x Dm 5.25 in.
For an example of this type of mochaware see Jonathan Rickard’s Mocha and related dipped wares, 1770-1939 figure 63 on page 50 and a series of pitchers and mugs on pages 57-59.
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