Dating in the dark rickard
The earliest dipped wares, which to some extent replaced the agate wares popular in the mid-eighteenth century, sought to imitate geological stones like agate and marble.Later wares were comprised of more fanciful and abstract designs.Some of the earliest dipped wares displayed variegated surfaces emulating agate, porphyry and other stone, created when different color slips were allowed to run and swirl against one another.Sometimes these swirled slips were further mixed by combing. The earliest slip colors used on variegated wares were brown, caramel, rust and blue (rarely) against a cream colored body (Rickard 20).In intervening years, collectors, curators and archaeologists have used a number of other terms to identify these wares, including annular, mocha, and banded.Table 1 provides a list of contemporary potters’ and merchants’ terms for the wares, as well as collectors’ terms that have been added over the intervening years and terms that are misleading.Slip marbled creamwares [variegated], manufactured in the 1770s, are the earliest known examples of slip on refined earthenware (Rickard 2006:4).This type of decoration was also used on the earlier Staffordshire slipwares and sometimes the surface was combed in addition to being variegated.
These wares are sometimes referred to as “annular wares”, a collector’s term not found in contemporary documents.
Both of these decorative techniques are almost always used in conjunction with another form of decoration typical of dipped wares (such as rouletting, engine turning, mocha or slip trailing). Over time, color choices of the potters changed from brighter, earthy tones of the late 18th and early 19th centuries to duller colors like blues and greys (Carpentier and Rickard 202) .
Grey, blue and black bands are colors more typical of dipped wares produced in the 1850s (Carpentier and Rickard 208).
Increased simplicity and uniformity of decoration (i.e.
simple banding without additional slip or incised designs) marked later dipped wares, after circa 1840.