Large Slip Decorated Antique Mochaware Pitcher With Mocha Trees Made Circa 1815


This is the rare piece of mochaware that, intentionally or not, presents a scene. This large and beautiful mochaware pitcher is decorated with gray slip, the color of a stormy sky. A horizontal band of mocha “trees” with their bare branches creates a scene of a stormy winter’s day (see “Background of Mocha Trees” below). The band of green glazed impressed decoration encircling the top of the pitcher brightens the pitcher’s overall feeling. The handle has well-defined acanthus leaf terminals.

Dimensions: 6.75″ tall x 5.5″ diameter at the widest point

Condition: Excellent.The pitcher’s top edge has several original uneven spots from when the pitcher was made (they are under the glaze).

In stock

Background of Mocha “Trees”

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 results from a dynamic process in which the contact line between two liquids, the acidic dark brown coloring, and the alkaline slip becomes unstable. The acid/base chemical reaction drives the instability. Rickard explains the process: Instead of leaving the pot on the lathe, the turner removed the pot and carefully held it bottom-up. Then he dipped his brush into the dark brown acidic concoction and touched the brush just outside the bottom edge of the broadest slip band. After that, the brown coloring ran quickly downwards while spreading its branches”.

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