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American Collectors

“Patriotism is as much a virtue as Justice” wrote Benjamin Rush. Certainly these rich blue remembrances of the United States in the 1820s have appealed to patriotic Americans for more than a century.  In 1892 Alice Morse Earle chose a dark blue printed Staffordshire teapot to illustrate the title page of her book on China Collecting in America, and the chapter “Staffordshire Wares” is sixty pages devoted to “dark-blue Staffordshire crockery".  More books followed, more collectors found delight in the combination of British pottery and American history.

 One of the most important American scholars and collectors of American decorative arts, Nina Fletcher Little, first fell in love with the blue printed earthenware that appeared in N. Hudson Moore’s 1903 Old China Book. Inspired by her triumphant first purchase of the Enoch Wood “Table Rock, Niagara” bowl seen here, she soon filled her Brookline, Massachusetts home with tureens, plates and pitchers decorated with American scenes.  Even after decades of collecting, she still regretted a Connecticut State House cup and saucer that escaped her early on, claiming that “it is the antiques one did not buy (and should have) that remain the longest in memory”. 

Nina Fletcher Little was not the only, nor the first, American to bring Staffordshire blue American views home in the later 19th and early 20th centuries. In the 1860s Leon Marcotte decorated the Codman family's dining room  in the Renaissance Revival style. Mixed in with the tin-glazed earthenware above the sideboard, either by Marcotte or a later Codman family member, were views of the Boston Atheneaeum and the Boston Insane Asylum, where they still sit today.

Historic New England 2004.34 bowl, Enoch Wood and Sons "Table Rock and Niagara Falls"Historic New England 2004.34
"Table Rock and Niagara Falls"
Enoch Wood and Sons

Codman dining roomHistoric New England
Codman House Dining Room