This trio of early- to-mid-1800's redware bowls is superb. Finding a set of three pieces such as these by the same potter is an exciting event, especially when they are in such terrific condition. The bowls were made of molded clay containing iron deposits that fired a pale red. A speckled creamy white slip coats the lead-glazed interiors of the bowls, extending just slightly over the edge of each rim. The potter made bold use of the mineral cobalt for the deep blue slip-trailed designs. The central motif of flowers varies but harmonizes on each bowl, typical on old hand painted pieces. The rims are encircled by two bands of blue that contain, in two of them, three groups of dots-and-dashes designs. The third bowl has a wavy, scalloped line instead.
The underside of each bowl is completely unglazed, exactly as we would expect in early pieces, since underside glazing only became common toward the end of the 1800's. The major American redware pottery centers were located from Maine down to North Carolina and west to Ohio. We believe these bowls to be from Virginia or North Carolina and very possibly by a Moravian potter.
Two of the bowls measure 7 3/4 inches across and the third is slightly out of round, measuring 7 3/4 inches by 7 7/8 inches; it's the one standing on the left in photograph #2 and on the right in photograph #5. They each stand about 2 inches high. There is the usual glaze wear around the rims; one of the bowls (upper right in photograph #2) has a flake in the center. Otherwise, as we said earlier, they are in wonderful condition with no cracks, chips or repairs.
These early redware bowls are an excellent find for the collector of redware and/or primitives.