Seminar, Ceramics on the Great River: “Canton Connection: The China Trade on the Connecticut River: and “Pots in Context: The Ceramics Collections at Historic Deerfield”
“Canton Connection: The China Trade on the Connecticut River”
Research on the American involvement in the China trade has focused almost exclusively on urban, coastal cities such as Boston, Salem, Providence, New York, and Philadelphia. But this economic opportunity also affected rural towns and more inland outposts – like the Connecticut River Valley. Not only did Valley inhabitants order and own China trade goods, they also supplied outbound cargo to vessels voyaging to China. Adventurers and fortune seekers set sail for China as captains, first mates, sailors, and travelers, often returning with teas, porcelains, silks, and souvenirs for loved ones in their home “ports” of Hartford, Wethersfield, and Northampton. This lecture will explore America’s direct and indirect involvement in the China trade with a special focus on the Connecticut River Valley voyages and the goods brought back — especially porcelain.
“Pots in Context: The Ceramics Collections at Historic Deerfield”
Historic Deerfield, situated in the Connecticut River Valley of Massachusetts, is blessed with a superb collection of ceramics from around the globe, including Chinese export porcelains, English pottery, and locally made New England redware and stoneware. Beginning with museum founders Henry and Helen Flynt’s efforts in the 1950s and 60s, the ceramics collection has emerged as ‘a collection of collections’ making the museum’s holdings both significant and surprising. The basic concept of documentation remains a primary goal in Historic Deerfield’s collecting strategy in order to bring greater understanding to rural New England life. Using historical sources such as archaeology, diaries and letters, inventories, and account books in combination with objects, Ms. Lange will place wares as diverse as chamber pots and teacups “into context.” Her talk will also highlight recent acquisitions of English pottery, 17th-century Continental European ceramics, and an anonymous donation of New England redware.
Amanda Lange is the Curatorial Department Director and Curator of Historic Interiors at Historic Deerfield and has been with the organization since 1994. Amanda received her undergraduate degree in Art and Art History from Rice University in Houston, Texas, and her master’s degree from the University of Delaware/ Winterthur Program in Early American Culture.
As Director and Curator of Historic Interiors, she is responsible for the care, presentation, and interpretation of more than 30,000 collection objects. Amanda has developed several exhibitions at Historic Deerfield including “Delicate Deception: Delftware at Historic Deerfield, 1600-1800,”and “The Canton Connection: Art and Commerce of the China Trade, 1784-1860,” which focused on trade relations between America and China in the late 18th and early 19th centuries as well as highlighting the museum’s remarkable collection of Chinese export art. These exhibitions were accompanied by catalogues. She is currently co-writing a catalogue of the museum’s British ceramics collection due in Spring 2023.
Image: Punch bowl, China, c. 1760. Hard-paste porcelain with overglaze enamels. Diam. 8¼ in. (20.955 cm). 66.229, Gift of Elizabeth Fuller. Historic Deerfield, Inc., Deerfield, Massachusetts. Owned by Dr. Thomas Williams of Deerfield, Massachusetts.
Institution or Organization name - Connecticut Ceramics Circle