Pottery is one of the most diverse of the collectibles. Where can one find such a cast of characters with little in common other than being made of clay? Collecting pottery can be very costly. One must do a bit of homework if they intend to become a serious collector.
The market fluctuates as to what as to what type of pottery is in vogue.
One day your wonderful California pottery is all the rage, the next it has been replaced by another wonderful manufactures wares. Of course this should not sway you from collecting, there are always the steadfast pieces made by manufactures that have stayed the course, such as Royal Doulton , Belleek, Limoges, et. Keep in mind, this is one field of collecting that ones own individuals taste dictate the fashion.
Pottery is the general term given to all ceramic wares. It also can be referred to as earthenware, not including porcelain, majolica or any ceramic with a vitrified surface (hard paste porcelain). It is wise to do your homework if it is your intent to collect popular pottery. The market is well saturated with fakes of all the most popular pottery and porcelains. Unfortunately pottery is easily copied, and reproduced. It is also a very lucrative business. Your first line of defense is to find a reputable dealer, that will guaranty his merchandise by offering an appraisal of the piece, done by a reputable appraiser.
One of the most common acts of forgery is the copying of a manufactures mark. The mark is copied, and applied to the piece with very believable results. Another type of deception is in forgery of decoration. Though the decoration might give a good facsimile of the original, all details are rarely correct. Forgeries of artists signatures or marks are also a great problem. Mixing of components, such as pieces with a lid. The lid may have been reproduced and added to an older piece.
Do your homework, purchase a couple of good books on pottery marks. Arm yourself with some basic pottery terminology. I have listed some must know terms below. Enjoy collecting, the market is still overflowing with wonderful exciting pieces.
Applied Molding: Molded decoration that has been added, not pinched from the original work.
Artist Mark: Marks added on by the artist, this can be a mark or a name also initials.
Art Nouveau: Style popular in the 1890s until 1920. It emphasized decorations with whiplash curves, and flowers with large leaf-like designs.
Art Pottery: Pottery created for display rather than for utilitarian use. Examples, Rockwood, Weller, Van Briggle, Roseville.
Back Stamp: A printed or incised symbol or logo.
Impressed Mark: This mark is stamped onto the item before it is fired or decorated.
Painted Marks: Marks that were painted on over or underglaze or overglaze.
Bisque: A type of pottery that has been fired but no glaze used. has a flat soft look to the piece.
Bone China: Ceramic wares Whittier very white due to the addition of bone ash, which makes the porcelain very translucent.
Cobalt: A steel-gray metallic element used as a pigment in the glaze. Which gives the item a vivid dark rich blue.
Crazing: A mesh of cracks in the glaze.
Embossing: A method of decorating with a raised design.
Faience: A type of earthenware covered with a tin glaze.
Flow Blue: The name given to a pottery with blue underglaze design. It can be identified by the slight fuzziness that results from the glaze and firing heat over the blue.
Gliding: Decoration for porcelain which is applied in liquid gold and painted on with a fine brush.
Glaze: The liquid compound which when fired on ceramic pieces becomes a glasslike finsh.It also seals the surface, and makes it nonabsorbent.
Iridescent: the colors on the piece appear as a rainbow of color.
Majolica: Any tin-glazed earthenware from Italy.
Monochrome: A design in black and white.
Overglaze: An enameled design painted on top of a fired glaze, and then fired again at a lower temperature.
Pouncing: Applying outlines for paintings with wax stencils. Powder is sprinkled on the stencils and serves as a guide for the company artist.
Relief Decoration: A design that is raised above a background.
Salt Glaze: A traditional form of ceramic glaze developed in England in which table salt is sprinkled in the kiln during the firing process.
Stoneware: A name applied to all vitrified and nonporous pottery, except for porcelain.
Tin Glaze: A dense lead glaze which is colored white and opaque by adding ashes of tin.
Underglaze: Painted colors on a ceramic bisque before it is dipped in glaze and fired for a second time.
Vitreous: The condition of a ceramic object when fired which results in a glassy and impermeable surface.