Recent Acquisitions from the Brooklyn Museum

Posted in Collections, Current Exhibits, Decorative Arts, Exhibits, Featured, Industrial and Cultural Artifacts, Pottery

Creamer, Willetts Manufacturing Company (1879-1908)

Now on view, upstairs at Ellarslie: The generous gift of 20 historic ceramic pieces given by the Brooklyn Museum to the collection of the Trenton Museum Society. Made in Trenton during the City’s heyday as the ceramic capital of the United States, the 20 items, mostly from the 19th century, were assembled by noted ceramics expert and collector Florence Balasny-Barnes.

The 20 in the collection are a cross-section of the types of ceramics produced in Trenton in the late 1800s, including ironstone, graniteware, glazed earthenware, and Belleek-type porcelain. Some of the pieces are practical and very durable, while others are marvels of delicacy and beauty.

Trenton had 250+ operating kilns during the late 19th century, many of them located along the Delaware and Raritan Canal (now Route 1 Freeway). The Canal enabled the ceramic manufacturers to bring bulk ingredients to the factory doors. Many of the pieces on view have famous manufacturers‘ marks, such as Scammell, Ott & Brewer, Willetts, Mercer Pottery Company, Glasgow Pottery Company, Mayer Pottery Company, and Lenox. Scroll down and tap the link to open up a comprehensive pdf showing and describing each donated item.

The Trenton Museum Society (TMS) will display these items as a group upstairs in Galley 4 at least well into spring 2024. TMS greatly appreciates the generosity of the Brooklyn Museum and the late collector Florence Balasny-Barnes for expanding the Museum’s collection of 19th century ceramics, made in Trenton.

—David Bosted, Trenton Museum Society Trustee and Historian

View the Recent Acquisitions from the Brooklyn Museum