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Wall pocket

ca. 1760
Origin: England, Staffordshire
H (tip to rim): 8 3/4"; W (side to side): 5 7/8"; Depth (nose to back): 1 7/8"
Stoneware, salt-glazed, white
Museum Purchase
Acc. No. 1952-505
White salt-glazed stoneware wall pocket with general inverted triangular outline having stylized finely veined leaves with twisted bottom forming lowest point. Frontal view of woma's face with hair parted in middle and curling back from forehead. A scroll from ear level down below chin on either side frames face. Bow above forehead is part of pierced baroque bonnet of what appears to be radiating acanthus leaves. Flat back panel pierced with 2 holes for hanging.
Label:In 1762, the New York firm of Keeling & Morris announced the sale of “A complete Assortment of the most fashionable K[i]nds of Glass and Stone Ware” including “Venis Flower Faces both green and white.” Odd as the wording sounds, the merchants almost certainly were describing wall pockets like this example in the shape of Venus, or a beautiful woman’s face. This pattern of hanging flower vase is known in white stoneware
and in green-glazed earthenware.

These little-documented objects probably were used in dining rooms and parlors to hold fresh or silk blossoms and greenery. Richard Olney’s probate inventory provides further documentation for the form in early America; in addition to the stoneware candlestick, he owned a “stone hanging flower pot.”
Provenance:Vendor: D. M. & P. Manheim, New York