Antique MOCHA WARE Mug Checkerboard Pattern in Ivory and Chocolate Brown Marked AUSTRIA 00 Circa Late 19th Century
Very collectible piece of late 19th century MOCHA WARE in the checkerboard pattern.
The small mug measures 2 ¾” tall by 3 ¾” wide from the rim to the spout. The rim opening is about 2 ¼” in diameter. A creamy ivory and deep chocolate checkerboard pattern decorates the mug, bordered by deep chocolate horizontal bands on the top and bottom.
The potter used an engine-turning lathe to create the geometric check design. The lathe marks can be seen on the bottom of the mug. 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 good. There small areas of missing glaze near the bottom and rim as well as a small hairline crack running up the side. The piece is marked AUSTRIA 00.
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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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