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to place his and Audreys’s entire collection in its museum, available to scholars. According to Noël Hume, it is a “discursive” assemblage and consists of “the good, the bad and the ugly”. As “discursive” would have it, Hume almost ignored banded ware and shelledge in his publication, “If These Pots Could Talk.” Non-the-less, by including shards as well as collector’s treasures, the Humes built the comprehensive collection of English pottery. For this achievement, we are grateful.
During the time frame of Maison Chenal, the English continued to make plates and platters in molds. Early on the decorated edge of the ware defined its name. Blue shelledged ware was the most common pattern (follower by green then the rare red). Interestingly, of the edged wares, intact platters survive in greatest numbers. Knowledge of the chronology of edgedware helps archaeologist keep our history in context. Edge designs on English pottery were first used on creamware (mid to late 18th century), then pearlware (late 18th century to the 1840s and by far the most common) and finally white ware (also know as Ironware, Ironestone and Mason’s Ware, mid 19th century and later). The time-frames are not rigid and there is overlap in the periods of these wares.
Conventional knowledge dictates that rim decoration becomes less ornate and progresses from an indented shell motif to an attenuated blue line in
Transferware plates featuring the St. Louis Cathedral of New Orleans. The blue plate was dug in Baton Rouge.
later plates. As a rule, it is good, however, there are exceptions. In the collection is a platter retailed in New Orleans that has a sophisticated shell border but a very late date (no earlier than 1836). Another problem is nomenclature and spelling. Edgedware is sometimes identified as shell edge or shell-edge or shelledge. Featheredge has similar disconnects. Shelledge is often incorrectly called featheredge.
Unlike mold-formed plates and platters, shards of vessels that had brilliant abstract designs puzzled us. All these shards had colorful bands and no two were alike. This pottery, mostly bowls and pitchers, had been lathe turned (engine turned) and slip decorated. The result was a fantastic colorful ware with abstract motifs called mocha (industrial slip ware, banded ware). The English potters had achieved innovative designs appreciated by consumers but ignored by ceramic historians and collectors who focused on the masterpieces of English ceramics. Mocha was a cheap ware, often poorly executed, but with amazing originality. Artists discovered the ware and it is not surprising the authority on Mocha, Jonathan Richard (Mocha and Related Dipped Wares, 1770 – 1939), is a Graphic Design professional. Mocha now commands premium prices and occupies prized positions in collections and has been featured in major exhibits at Colonial Williamsburg, The Boston Museum of Fine Arts and Hartford’s Wadsworth Atheneum.
Mocha serves Collectors as a linguistic shorthand for “banded industrial slipware or dipped ware”. The term is confusing. Mocha originally was used to describe a specific early banded ware with a design named after moss agate or mocha stone. Moss agate’s dendritic designs strongly resembled the moss like design duplicated on the early ceramic. Historical archaeologist and ceramic historians grudgingly dislike the term mocha generically applied to all industrial slip ware or dipped ware since most of the wares do not have the dendritic decoration. However, collectors have won the day and mocha is now the popular, if technically inaccurate, term used to identify the ware.
Little had been written about banded ware or mocha when my wife and I first discovered shards of this unknown to us ceramic in the 1960s in the Treme area of New Orleans. Bottle diggers had discarded numerous broken pots in their search for bottles. Subsequently we discovered banded ware shards are common on Louisiana home sites and were delighted but confused by these puzzling artistically decorated ceramics which appeal to the modern eye. Were these shards early or late? Fortunately, Noël Humes’s A Guide to Artifacts of Colonial America was published and our knowledge of everyday wares soon began to expand.
Mold produced painted wares make an early appearance and consists of cups and saucers, waste bowls and tea pots. These colorful wares were not nearly as common as the plates, platters and pitchers of edgedware and mocha. Prattware is

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