Vase with bellflowers

Decorated by Esther Huger Elliot American
Manufacturer Newcomb Pottery American

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 774

The Newcomb Pottery grew out of the arts program initiated for the newly formed Sophie Newcomb College, founded as part of Tulane University to provide higher education opportunities for women. As was typical of many Arts and Crafts potteries, men were employed to handle the more demanding tasks of throwing, glazing, and firing, while the women executed the decoration. The designs were largely based on the flora of the south, the motifs of which were conventionalized and repeated in a rhythmic manner around the vessel. Such was the success of their products that they exhibited not only across the country, but also in Paris in 1900, at the Paris Exposition Universelle. The dominant palette was one of blues and greens on the cream-colored clay body. This vase is somewhat rare in the oeuvre of Newcomb Pottery in that the decorator, Esther Huger Elliot, executed the repeated motif of conventionalized bluebells with a rhythmic quality suggestive of the Art Nouveau style. While much of the inspiration for Newcomb’s designers, such as Elliot, derived from Southern flora and fauna, the decorators also had access to European publications as well as issues of the highly influential periodical Keramic Studio, which regularly reported on and illustrated the work of French, German, English, and Scandinavian firms.

Vase with bellflowers, Decorated by Esther Huger Elliot (American, 1872–1957), Earthenware, American

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