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Lecture | Mocha & Other Slipwares - A History

Mocha & Other Slipwares – A History

A Lecture by Jonathan Rickard



Jonathan Rickard has always collected. As a child it was soda bottle caps. Later, it was cast iron mechanical banks. At a Skinner auction in the late 1960s, he spotted some ceramic vessels that were called mochaware. His design studies at MassArt had introduced him to the theories of the Bauhaus movement and to the color theories of Josef Albers. This pottery he found interesting because the forms reflected the form-follows-function Bauhaus thinking while the decorations combined the color juxtapositions of Albers with the uninhibited qualities of abstract impressionism. Instead of bidding, he went in search of information about the pots and found nothing.

This increased his fascination, and in 1972 he bought his first mochaware at flea markets on his first trip to London. Further research turned up Katharine Morrison McClintock’s book, Antique Collecting for Everyone; chapter one was “Mochaware.” He met C. John Smith, an Englishman who had studied the subject for more than ten years. John was planning a book, but he died without publishing. So Jonathan went to work and delivered a complete press-ready book to UPNE which was published in 2006—Mocha and Related Dipped Wares, 1770-1939, which is now out of print. He has served as guest curator for exhibitions at Colonial Williamsburg, The Brandywine River Museum, the National Academy Museum, the Jones Museum of Ceramics and Glass, and the Wilton Heritage Museum. His articles have appeared in the annual Ceramics in America, The Magazine Antiques, Maine Antique Digest, and Early American Life. These pots are all lead-glazed and lathe-turned.

Skinner Marlborough Gallery
274 Cedar Hill Street, Marlborough

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