Della Robbia vase with trees

Designed by Frederick Hurten Rhead American, born England
Manufacturer Roseville Pottery

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 774

Frederick Hurten Rhead, an Englishman by birth and training, was one of America’s leading ceramists at the turn of the twentieth century. As a potter, designer, decorator, teacher, and author, his influence was far-reaching. Rhead’s career extended across the nation and included positions not only at large commercial establishments but also at small art potteries, educational facilities, and therapeutic institutions. Well versed in many of the major techniques of decoration employed during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, Rhead throughout his long career embraced the English Arts and Crafts and Art Nouveau styles, and ultimately, Art Deco. Developing relationships with many of the key figures in the international Art Pottery movement, among them William Percival Jervis, Taxile Doat, and Adelaide Alsop Robineau, Rhead proved to be one of the most diverse and influential ceramists working in the United States. He also became one of the leading champions of modern design in America, in both theory and practice.

Rhead’s longest tenure in years and perhaps his most productive period, began when he started at the Roseville factory in late 1904, staying there until 1908. Given the large scale of Roseville’s production, he developed a number of different lines, with varied stylistic approaches and technical concerns. One of his most exciting lines was called Della Robbia, named after the Italian Renaissance dynasty of ceramist who were renowned for their richly colored enamel glazes. Rhead’s Della Robbia vases, such as this example, are steeped in the English modern movement of the turn of the nineteenth century. Typical of Rhead’s designs are the incised bubble-like stones of the path.

Della Robbia vase with trees, Designed by Frederick Hurten Rhead (American (born England), Hanley, Stoke-on-Trent 1880–1942 New York), Earthenware, American

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