Folk Art Tulips Charger - Famed Pennsylvania Potter Lester Breininger
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This spectacular 12 1/2 Inch diameter plate/platter/charger was hand made in 1985 by Breininger Pottery, founded by Lester Breininger (1935-2011) of Robesonia, Pennsylvania, who was regarded as one of the premier folk potters of the last half of the 20th century. He was originally a teacher by profession and a mostly self-taught potter who loved history and the traditions of the Pennsylvania Dutch (German) settlers. For 45 years, he used time-honored, traditional techniques to make his redware; Breininger Pottery closed in August 2011 and Lester died that December. We've included a photograph of him holding a piece of his wonderful pottery.
Chargers like this one were shaped out of slabs of red clay that were draped over wooden forms; the edge was often coggled with a wooden wheel, as it was here, just like piecrust. It was then decorated with sgraffito (scratched-in) designs of tulips and slip decorated, using a mixture of water and clay that contained minerals. On this piece, the brick red tulips bloom against a mustard yellow ground; the edge is decorated with a wavy line between two narrow lines, also in brick red.
This dished plate stands 1 3/4 inches high and weighs a little over 3 pounds. On the unglazed underside of the charger are several incised handwritten notations::
SEPT. 17, 1986
BEAUTIFUL FALL DAY!
It's in original, untouched condition; we ran our fingers around the rim and noted a few tiny rough spots, which are probably minute flakes but are very hard to see. There are no chips, cracks, hairlines or loss of color. Simply a beautiful example of the folk potter's art and one of Lester Breininger's masterpieces.