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Rockingham Houndhandle Pitchers

The American Pottery Company in Jersey City, New Jersey, was the first to make Rockingharn ware in the United States. The original creation of this ware, with its rich brown glaze and mottled pattern, was in England where it was first perfected about 1780 in Yorkshire. It was named for the Marquis of Rockingham on whose estate the pottery was located.

The most familiar of the Rockingham pieces were teapots. They were soon in wide use in England and America because they were attractive, durable, and inexpensive. Pitchers were probably next in favor and they ranged in capacity from a little over a pint to two-and-a-half quarts. They also lent themselves to decorative effects on handle, spout, and body. The production of Rockingham teapots and pitchers soon spread beyond Yorkshire to the Staffordshire potters who exported them in large numbers to America.

Among the designs in pitchers was a hunting motif on the body in high relief, with handle modeled in the shape of a hound. Demand for this type, as well as other items of Rockingham ware, increased during the early nineteenth century until, in 1840, the American Pottery Company asked Daniel Greatback, a designer and potter in the employ of John and William Ridgway of Staffordshire, to come to Jersey City. He stayed with this company until 1852, designing pitchers of varying sizes and patterns that are now collector's items. From Jersey City he moved to Bennington, Vermont, and then to East Liverpool, Ohio, where he continued as the leading designer of this ware.

His designs, especially of houndhandle pitchers, were copied by other potteries and made in many localities, from southern Vermont to Ohio. There were probably about twenty potteries producing them. Although they were popular and plentiful in their day, the houndhandle pitcher was in everyday use and consequently is now a rare item, desirable because of its modeling and decoration.

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