John Bennett (1840–1907)
Made in New York, New York, United States
Painted and glazed earthenware
H. 11 in. (27.9 cm); Diam. 11 in. (27.9 cm)
Friends of the American Wing Fund, 1984
Like Daniel Cottier, John Bennett was instrumental in bringing Aesthetic taste from Great Britain to America. At Doulton, Bennett developed a distinctive technique of underglaze decoration, which was on view at the Philadelphia Centennial Exhibition of 1876. Shortly thereafter he established himself in New York City. His style and choice of subject matter--flowers and fruits stylized into flat, two-dimensional patterns--had much in common with that of British reform designers such as William Morris (1834-1896). This vase of cream-colored earthenware features underglaze decoration of pink and white dogwood blossoms and branches on a yellow background. An unusual feature in Bennett's work, the mottled background is further ornamented with a stylized sprig design of the same hue, yet in a different tone, reminiscent of wallpaper designs of the Aesthetic Movement. This is one of the rare examples of Bennett's work where he has signed the piece on the body of the vase, a probable expression of the value he placed on the work. The uppermost rim is decorated with mottled blue, green, and black glazes, simulating semiprecious stone.