The importation of British transferware to America is a fascinating topic that will be explored in depth at this year's TCC Annual Meeting. Our Keynote Speaker will be Dr. Neil Ewins, Senior Lecturer in Design History, University of Sunderland, UK, and author of
"Supplying the Present Wants of Our Yankee Cousins...": Staffordshire Ceramics and the American Market 1775-1880. Dr. Ewins has spent decades researching the topic and will present two lectures during the meeting. The first lecture will be held at the Mystic Seaport Museum in Connecticut, where we will tour the last 19th century commercial sailing vessel in America, the
Charles W. Morgan.
The Mystic Seaport Museum
The Mystic Seaport Museum in Mystic, CT, is the nation's leading maritime museum. Founded in 1929 to gather and preserve the disappearing artifacts of America's seafaring past, the Museum has grown to become a national center for research and education with the mission to "inspire an enduring connection to the American maritime experience."
The Museum's grounds cover 19 acres on the Mystic River and include a recreated New England village, a working shipyard, formal exhibit halls, and state-of-the-art artifact storage facilities. The Museum is home to more than 500 historic watercraft, including four National Historic Landmark vessels, most notably the 1841 whaler
Charles W. Morgan, America's oldest commercial ship still in existence.
Friday, October 19
Tour the Museum Grounds, Ships, and Exhibits
In the morning, we will tour the museum's many historic buildings, ships, and exhibits. These include a Cooperage shop, where wooden casks and barrels like those used to ship transferware in the 19th century are still made by hand; a General Store, like those where millions of pieces of transferware were sold historically; and restored historic homes of the period where British transferware would have been used.
Following lunch in the "Latitude 41" Restaurant overlooking the Mystic River, the Mystic Seaport Museum Curatorial Staff will give a presentation about the Museum's beautiful transferware collection.
First Keynote Lecture
Dr. Neil Ewins will present the first of his two keynote lectures:
"Supplying the Present Wants of Our Yankee Cousins...": Staffordshire Ceramics and the American Market 1775-1880. He says:
"Even though a broad range of Staffordshire ceramic-types was exported to the United States, it was the dark blue printed earthenwares, specifically produced to appeal to the tastes of the American market, which initially received the most attention from early ceramic historians. The purpose of
'Supplying the Present Wants of Our Yankee Cousins...': Staffordshire Ceramics and the American Market 1775-1880 of 1997, was to more broadly establish what was exported, and how a growing trade with the United States was organised.
How was information about ceramic demand communicated back to the manufacturers, particularly as the American nation expanded west-wards? Paralleling economic historians who had examined the organisation of the American trade, a view was that in the period of rising exports from the end of the Anglo-American War of 1812-14, British manufacturers rather than merchants, became more dominant as marketing agents. Staffordshire manufacturers followed a tendency of dealing more directly with the United States in the post-1815 era, although merchants continued to be important, dealing with the smaller, ceramic firms. This paper examines the main findings of '
Supplying...', and is accompanied by imagery of ceramics associated with the American market. "