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Pottery & Porcelain (E) - Encyclopedia Of Antiques

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EARTHENWARE: The ware usually designated earthenware is of soft body, fired at low heats, made of clays selected for plasticity, hardening qualities, fusibility or color. When in the biscuit stage it is too porous for domestic use and requires a coating of glaze. As a rule it is opaque and lighter than porcelain. Earthenware may be divided into four kinds: unglazed, simply baked clay; lustrous, selected clay baked and coated with a slight vitreous glaze; glazed., ordinary ware such as household crockery, with a lead glaze; enameled, glazed with vitreous or glass compound, owing its coloring properties to mineral oxides or sulfates. The use of china clay in earthenware has resulted in the disappearance of the once popular cream ware for general use. See POTTERY.

ELERS WARE: This ware was made by John Philip and David Elers, brothers, who came from Holland at the time of William and Mary and established a factory at Bradwell Wood, Staffordshire, about 1690. They made black and red un glazed ware of very dense, hard body, some of it turned on a lathe and perfectly finished with stamped ornament in relief, the first of such in Staffordshire. The later potters making such ware called it "Elers" ware. The spouts on turned tea-pots were plain and molded by hand. Elers ware was of a quality superior to anything before produced in England and authentic pieces of their product are very rare, although imitations are numerous and are constantly mistaken for real specimens. The early black ware made here may have been the prototype of Wedgwood basalt of later days. Their pottery was in existence about twenty years.

ENAMEL: This is an opaque, semi-transparent or colored substance, used in coating the surface of metals or porcelain, and afterwards fired. The basis of all enamels is an easily fusible colorless glass to which the desired color and opacity are imparted by mixtures of metallic oxides. The art of enameling has been practised in almost all countries where art has flourished and it is very ancient in its origin.

The enamels of Limoges (q.v.) in France of the 12th to the 16th century have attained great fame and long before that time the Greeks and Romans produced beautiful enamels. The Chinese made early use of enamels on their pottery and in England over-glaze colors with enamel effect were applied on pottery early in the 18th century. The painted enamels of France were superior to the English product, but the Battersea factory (q.v.) and its English contemporaries in the middle of the 18th century helped to restore the balance. The characteristic of these is a copper base, covered with soft white enamel, the surface of which is decorated by painting by hand or by the transfer-printing process.

Other processes of enameling are the Cloisonne, in which the design is outlined by wires soldered to the surface of the body, much in use by the Chinese and Japanese, and the Champleve, a process of cutting the design into the metal itself. The hollow spaces of both methods are then filled with the enamel paste, rubbed down smooth or heated until they run smoothly over the surface to which they adhere by fusion with the metal.

ENAMELED POTTERY: Known also as stanniferous faience from stannum, the Latin word for tin. It is a coarse ware covered with a heavy, opaque, white enamel. See DELFTWARE.

ENAMEL KNOBS: Designed for the express purpose of use with looking-glasses and much in vogue in the last half of the 18th century. They were made round and oval and rarely exceeded three and one-half inches in diameter. They took the name of Battersea, having been made there first, but they were produced elsewhere, also, in characteristic Battersea style of decoration.

ENCAUSTIC: Pertaining to the burning in of colors on a ground of another color.


ETRUSCAN MAJOLICA: This name is marked on earthenware produced by Griffen & Smith at Phoenixville, Pennsylvania, late 19th century.

ETRUSCAN WARE: An ancient product of Etruria of black clay without painted decoration, but with repousse ornaments. The forms were copied from Greek vases or from metal vases from Egypt and Carthage.


ETRURIA POTTERY: (Trenton, New Jersey) This factory, under the operation of Ott & Brewer Co., was noted for the production of "Belleek" china, entirely from American materials, regarded as being equal to the Irish Belleek. Its extreme lightness of body and its lustrous glaze has served to make it widely known. In addition the factory produced granite ware and opaque china, both print-decorated and hand-painted, and its Parian ware was soft and mellow in texture and a close imitation of the finest statuary marble.

EXETER POTTERY WORKS: Established at Exeter, New Hampshire, by J. Dodge in the 18th century and operated by succeeding members of his family until 1895, when the pottery was closed. The earthenware produced was red, and practically all of it was glazed. It consisted of all of the household types in use during the pottery's existence. Some of the pieces, especially the earlier ones, had variations in yellow, brown and greenish hues, owing to oxides used.