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Swirls and Twirls

 Mug, attributed to Samuel Bell, Staffordshire (Newcastle-under-Lyme), ca. 1740. Lead-glazed agateware. H. 4 1/2". (Courtesy, Troy D. Chappell Collection; photos by Gavin Ashworth unless otherwise noted.)

The Chipstone foundation has created a gallery of agateware (both American and Staffordshire) on their website with notes on how it is made and showing the construction of elaborate teapots.  Agateware is highly prized by collectors.

Unlike tankards and mugs and jugs that are marbleized on the outside, agateware  is constructed by taking several colors of clay and carefully mixing them together, then throwing them on the wheel or lining delicate molds with carefully cut slabs of mixed clay. Solid agateware vessels can be identified easily because the pattern is the same inside and out.  Surface agate or marbleized pieces are white or natural clay color on the inside and decorated with marbleized slip on the outside.

Please click below to visit the Chipstone Foundation Gallery to see more wonderful ceramics:

Michelle Erickson and Robert Hunter | Swirls and Whirls: English Agateware Technology | Ceramics in America 2003

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