Hi there! I hope you’ve had a great week. I’ve been busy painting a pine corner cupboard to bring up to my booth today. I needed something for the corner to display smalls, and it was just the perfect piece. Hopefully, I’ll have photos soon. We’re also celebrating a friend’s birthday at our place, the day after tomorrow, so you know what that means–cleaning, cleaning, cleaning! NOT how I like to spend my time, LOL.
Today I’m going to talk about one of my favorite collectibles–yellowware pottery. I don’t actually own many pieces myself but I’m a huge fan. I’m pretty quick to sell pieces as I find them because they are one antique I can count on selling fairly quickly. Homey and sturdy, yellowware makes many of us think of Grandma, and in fact, the one bowl I own was my own Gramma’s.
A new dealer, specializing in yellowware, recently moved into my shop, and I was able to photograph a number of her beautiful pieces. So you’ll be seeing her fascinating wares first, and then items I own or have bought and sold in the past.
Here is her magnificent display case. Amazing right? I’ve never seen so many pieces of yellowware assembled in one place outside of a museum.
A History of Yellowware Pottery
It’s fairly obvious where the term “yellowware” came from: the yellow-hued clay used to create these homey pieces, like mixing bowls, rolling pins, and pudding molds. The clear glaze applied to the exterior ensured that the buttery color would be preserved.
First produced in Scotland in the late 1700’s, and then in Yorkshire and onto Staffordshire, yellowware was a kitchen workhorse due to its utilitarian shapes and sturdy construction.
Rolling pins in such fine condition are a rarity, as reflected in the price of $195 (I do find her prices a bit high, but I’m not an expert). Initially, America imported yellowware from England, until potteries in Ohio, New Jersey and Maryland, with ready supplies of yellow clay , developed the ability to produce the popular wares by the mid-1800’s.
Unlike ironstone, yellowware is considered earthenware and not quite as durable. Buyers expect some wear, including crazing and small chips, like those you see around the edge of this pudding mold (priced at $45).
This molded urn with raised floral decoration is quite something, isn’t it (priced at $180).
As is this spectacular Toby jug (priced at $150–lower than expected due to his missing hand).
Because manufacturers failed to mark most yellowware, including this 11 1/2″ bowl I inherited from my grandmother, it can be very difficult to ascertain either a country of origin or time of manufacture. But the decoration gives us some clues. White and brown slip (liquefied clay) decoration dates it to between the mid-1800’s and the 20th century. And the central “seaweed” decoration dates it to no earlier than 1860.
NOTE: Flick your yellowware with your finger and if it thuds, that may indicate that it was produced in the U.S., whereas if it rings, it may be from England (lovetoknow).
The pale blue and brown decoration indicates that this darling, molded mixing bowl likely dates to somewhere between the mid-1800’s and early 20th century (sold for $25). But the chunky, wide-collared lip points to the early 20th century (lovetoknow), likely the 1920’s.
Robinson Ransbottom, of Roseville, OH, in business from 1920 to 2005, used this incised crown mark on some of its earlier pottery. [Later pieces are often simply marked “R.R.P. Co. Roseville, OH,” not to be confused with Roseville Pottery.
This later set of mixing bowls with machine-painted brown stripes, likely dates to the early 20th century (priced: $75 for the set). It may be McCoy.
Yellowware in Other Colors
How can a yellowware bowl be white, you ask? Don’t forget that the yellow in yellowware refers to the color of the clay. In most cases, especially early on, manufacturers gave yellowware a clear glaze, allowing the clay’s color to shine.
However, yellowware comes in a variety of colors, including white, as you see here with this large, blue banded, hand thrown beauty that sold recently for $25 (due to extreme wear and chipping). Rockingham ware, a type of yellowware, bears a brown, mottled surface (examples), and then there’s my favorite color…
“apple green,” as found on this 12″ McCoy “Sunburst” mixing bowl (sold for $75)
I’m absolutely in love with this recently purchased, McCoy, basket weave pitcher that dates to about 1910 (value: $50-60 if perfect).
Here’s a glimpse of the unmarked bottom, with wear on the unglazed outer ring that you want to find on a piece this old.
Unfortunately, the piece has a serious crack that did not prevent me from scooping it up for the low, low price of just $4(!). I feel fairly certain I can sell it for $15 or so, but I bought it to enjoy myself, and it may not be going anywhere.
I hope you enjoyed reading about antique yellowware–the perfect accent for farmhouse decorating, or any kind of decorating if you ask me!
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