VICTORIAN CARPET BALL with Rare Red and Black Glaze Plaid Design 3” Circa 1860 - 1890
Featuring a decorated stoneware ANTIQUE VICTORIAN CARPET BALL or BOWL, circa 1860 - 1890. The red and black plaid design on this ball is among the rarest patterns--lines using two or more colors with wide crossbands and thinner parallel lines that make a plaid.
The carpet ball is in "played" condition, with several chips and missing glaze, adding to its authenticity and use. It is in better condition than most used carpet balls found. This is a medium-sized ball, weighing about 1 pound and measuring approximately 3” in diameter.
Decorators today fill wooden bowls with a collection of carpet balls, use them as paperweights or to decorate shelves.
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WHAT IS A CARPET BALL?
Carpet balls or carpet bowls originated in Scotland in the late 1700s. The balls or bowls were kept near the front door of most Scottish mansions in the 19th century and used to play the parlor game, Parlour Bowl. Many Scottish families called the balls, "piggies."
According to rules defined in Cassell's Book of Indoor Amusements, Card Games and Fireside Fund:1891, Parlour Bowl can be adapted to any number of persons and is similar to outdoor lawn bowling but played indoors. Each player is provided two balls of the same color, which he "bowls" toward a jack or die placed at the opposite side of the room. The player who succeeds in placing his bowl nearest the jack wins the game. When played with more than two players and on teams, it is then legitimate for players to knock an opponent's bowl away from the jack--or knock their partner's bowl closer to the jack.
Carpet bowls were originally produced by potters in Scotland and England until the game crossed the Atlantic to Canada. In the 1840s, Jabez Vodrey at the Indiana Pottery Company began producing carpet bowls, charging 37 ½ cents a dozen.
Early carpet bowls were made of stoneware and decorated with colorful crossbands, bull's eye patterns, stick-spatter designs of hearts, crowns shamrocks and stars, and sponge designs. The bowls will vary in weight and range in size from 2 ½" to 3 ½".
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