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( Article orginally published January 1961 )
The finest and largest display of Spatterware ever assembled in the midwest was opened to the public on October 18th at the Ohio State Museum. Consisting of several hundred highly colorful pieces, the exhibit occupies the Arts and Crafts Room in the Museum's south wing, immediately off the first floor lobby, and will be on display for an indeterminate period.
Loaned to the Ohio Historical Society for exhibition purposes only, the Spatterware is from the collections of Mr. and Mrs. T. B. Christopher of Greenville, Ohio. The Christophers are well known collectors of fine Americana, including china, pottery and furniture.
The colorful china known as Spatter was produced by English potters during the 19th century for the American market and it became perhaps the most popular of the hand decorated wares in that period. Spatter was widely accepted, finding ready buyers from Maine to Ohio and Indiana.
Although twenty-seven manufacturers of Spatterware have been listed, few pieces bear the potter's mark. The potters include Adams, Alcock, Davenport, Health, Holden, Mayer, Meigh, Mellor-Venables, Podmore-Walker and Wedgwood. In the 50's and 60's, Spatter was produced by two American potters, the American Pottery Company of Jersey City, N. J., and Vodrey of East Liverpool.
Spatter, collectors point out, is not properly a ware, but rather a type of decoration. It is a technique used to decorate English delft plates during the late 17th and 18th centuries, and was found also on Leeds-type and Staffordshire wares about 1800. Spatter decoration for china in mass distribution in America was adopted by the potters of the Staffordshire district.
These potters originally employed a "soft paste" body, later replaced by a harder "pearl ware" and subsequently by a conventional ironstone body.
Brilliant colors, including blue, red, purple, pink, green, brown, black, and yellow were used for background decoraticin. Black and yellow are considered rarest today. The primary patterns covered a wide range of subjects, some tracing their origin to porcelains, and many varieties are encompassed within a single pattern.
A cow creamer, complete with boy and milking stool, is an oddity in the exhibition.