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Pickle Stand

American China Manufactory (Bonnin and Morris), Philadelphia (1770–1772)

Designed to serve pickled nuts and fruits during dessert, this small stand is made of more than seventy-two elements. Each element was individually formed from a refined clay called porcelain, with some elements molded from actual shells. The assembled stand was then decorated with cobalt blue, covered with a clear lead glaze, and fired at a high temperature. The extreme heat transformed the clay into the hard, resonant, and translucent material named porcellana (cowrie shell) by twelfth-century Italians.

Porcelain clays such as kaolin naturally occur in China and North America. British colonials began firing them in Georgia in the 1730s and South Carolina in the 1760s. Gousse Bonnin and George Anthony Morris founded the American China Manufactory, where this stand was made, in Philadelphia in 1770.

The pickle stand was the most ambitious form Bonnin and Morris made. This is one of only seven from the factory known to survive.

Object Details

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