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  • Writer's pictureCatherine Losier

Artefact of the Week Series: Wedgwood Wonders, The Charm of Pealware

Ceramics have been found across many of the test pits excavated on Turpin’s Island. One of the most interesting types of these is pearlware, a type of ceramic characterized by its fine-textured fabric with high-quality and delicate designs that were often intended to mimic the appearance of Chinese porcelain. Pearlware was first introduced in 1779 by Josiah Wedgwood, an English potter also credited with the invention of creamware (1762-1800).

Pearlware has a lead-bearing glaze with a blue tint created by adding cobalt oxide, giving it a distinct blue-white appearance and making it very distinguishable from creamware. While usually not noticeable to the naked eye, the faint blue tint from the glaze can be more apparent in places in which the glaze may pool during the glazing process, such as the brink or the foot ring. This piece of pearlware represents the portion of these ceramics that bear a cobalt blue hand-painted design that is potentially floral decoration. Pearlware ceramics became popular around the 1790s, making it possible that it arrived at Turpin’s Island around the time that Newman & Co. were active in the area around 1784!


Mars Lamkin

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