Ceramic Art Company, Trenton, New Jersey American

Not on view

The Ceramic Art Company was founded in 1889 by Jonathan Coxon, Sr. and Walter Scott Lenox, the latter of whom would go on to found his own highly successful porcelain firm, Lenox, Incorporated. Both had formerly worked for Trenton’s Ott and Brewer pottery, where Lenox was head of the decorating department and Coxon was superintendent—they were both clearly highly accomplished. What set their new company apart from its competitors was that it concentrated solely on the making of artware instead of supplementing a commercial production with a small range of artistic vessels. The Ott and Brewer connection is of particular note here, in that the exact ruffled plate form was made by Ott and Brewer (see 1994.38.1, 2).

The plate’s decoration, with its cloud-like forms, and the moon emerging from parted clouds, as well as the two vignettes replicating patterns seen on Japanese textiles, attests to the pervasive influence of Japanese motifs and designs on the production of American Belleek porcelain during the 1880s. Here the ornament has been executed in a highly skilled manner, with the clouds carefully sponged in a soft blue, with the moon just exposed as the clouds parted in the sky.

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