Covered bowl

Cover attributed to Gertrude Twichell American
Bowl made by Saturday Evening Girls
Bowl decorated by Rose Bacchini American

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 774

The Saturday Evening Girls was a reading club founded in the 1890s for young immigrant women living in Boston’s North End. In 1907, these women began to be trained in pottery-making and by 1915, a purpose-built pottery was erected in Brighton, Massachusetts, where some 15-20 girls were employed to glaze and decorate pottery. Although never a financial success, the pottery was a highly effective social experiment. The marks on the underside of the bowl indicate that it was made at the pottery in November 1917. The initials RB stand for Rose Bacchini—one of the few identified artists who worked at the pottery.

The cover is made of copper, painted in iridescent enamels with a stylized flower that appears to be a poinsettia. Although unsigned, it is attributed to the Arts & Crafts metalsmith Gertrude S. Twichell, who studied enameling with Laurin Hovey Martin at the Massachusetts Normal School. She was elected a Craftsman member of the Society of Arts & Crafts, Boston, in 1916 and was elevated to Master in 1927. Twichell also studied in England with the highly regarded enamellist Alexander Fisher. Her oeuvre includes silver and coper boxes decorated in cloisonné or plique-à-jour enamel, as well as jewelry ornamented with precious stones and enamel. She favored floral decoration, although images of sailing ships and landscapes are also known. The use of brilliantly colored enamels is characteristic of her production.

Although unusual for a piece of Paul Revere Pottery to have a copper cover, it was undoubtedly made for the bowl since it fits comfortably over the rim. This bowl probably belonged to Mary Cheney, a Minneapolis-based Arts and Crafts artist and educator. In the 1890s Cheney studied at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston and Harvard Summer School, and she long retained ties to members of the Boston Society of Arts & Crafts. She could well have commissioned a Society member to create the cover for this bowl.

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