Lusterware Was Classy For
Pink lusterware was a treasure in a household during the 1800s. It was only brought out to be used for company or special occasions in the family.
Lusterware is pottery or porcelain that has been decorated with a thin film of a metallic pigment that is often iridescent. It was painted on before a piece received its final firing. The decoration was either an all-over coating or a design of some type, against a white, cream or colored background. In addition to pink, lusterware came in silver, gold and copper.
Pink luster reached its height of popularity about 1850. The shades ranged from a pale mulberry color through rose to a sometimes strong purple hue. Sometimes it was used in combination with painting or enameling.
The strawberry pattern was an especially coveted one. A less sophisticated pattern was the cottage design. Although the cottages reflected different “architects,” the pattern always included a house or church, trees and a fence. Flowers and foliage were probably the most commonly used in designs, especially in tea sets. These also included designs that looked like crosshatching.
Another type of pink luster decoration can be described as mottled, marbled or splashed. This is also called Sunderland ware. The splashing came from spraying an oil on the wet luster after it was applied to the white ware, and before firing. The oil expanded in the kiln to form bubbles, which “exploded,” forming splashes or splotches.
The greatest variety of pink lusterware was found in the full tea sets. There were also, however, pink cow creamers (usually marbled,) jugs, pitchers, ewer and bowl sets, mugs and goblets, and a type of porcelain wall plaque that had a frame or marbled pink luster.
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