Antique English MOCHA WARE Mug with Tan and Olive Green Checkerboard Pattern Circa Early 19th Century
Very collectible piece of early to mid-19th century MOCHA WARE in the checkerboard pattern.
The small mug is 3" tall by 3 ¾” across rim, including the handle. The rim opening is about 2 ½" in diameter. A tan and olive green checkerboard pattern decorates the mug, bordered by olive green horizontal bands on the top and bottom.
The potter most likely used an engine-turning lathe to create the geometric check design. Often, the lathe was used both before and after colors were added to the slipped clay to shave away the colored slip left in the recessed areas.
The overall condition is extremely good. There are an area of missing glaze near the bottom edge. The piece is not marked.
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ABOUT MOCHA WARE
Mocha pottery is an English-made dipped earthenware. It was utilitarian pottery, used in taverns and modest homes and from 1790 to 1830, used practically every day and was not treasured like pricier porcelain.
There is an assumption that mocha ware is so named for its palette of browns, creams, grays, blacks, and muted tones of blue, green, pumpkin, and yellow. However, the name derives from the mukha (“mocha”) stone, a type of moss agate from Arabia.
The English produced the pottery almost exclusively for the American market, which then lacked the white clay necessary for mocha ware. Staffordshire and Yorkshire were at the forefront of mocha ware production. A few pieces of mocha ware were made in France, the United States, and other countries.
Potters spent minimal time applying decoration to the pieces. Rather they were coated in a runny mixture of clay and water known as “slip”; then a tea made of tobacco juice, turpentine, hops, and purportedly urine was applied. The resulting chemical reaction formed delicate dendritic patterns in the glaze. Other designs were painted, scratched, or stamped on with fingers, brushes, or objects, resulting in a multitude of layers and colors. Mocha ware was rarely marked.
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