01 April 2018

Sea pottery identification

One of my latest hobbies is collecting sea pottery and sea glass, so it was natural that I would come up with some bullet journal pages to help me! I've done one which is just a map of the beaches I've visited around the area, and how good they've been for beachcombing. But this one is for recording some of the pottery designs I've found and managed to identify. I'm finding it much more useful than what I was doing previously, taking screenshots of any information I found on the internet.
I think the realisation that some of the glass and pottery is quite old is part of the reason I find collecting it so fascinating. When I found my first pieces, I just assumed it could've been in the sea for about 10 years, not realising that some of it is from the 1800s!
Trying to identify and date the pottery has been quite difficult. It helps a lot if there is any writing on the piece, but this isn't always the case. Using the writing and image on one piece I was able to identify it as coming from a ginger beer bottle, and I've since found other pieces from similar bottles.

Makers' marks are another good way of identifying pottery. I found one piece with part of a maker's mark on the back, but it was quite difficult to decipher, with just a couple of letters visible, one of which was hard to make out. After searching for various possible versions of what it could say, I eventually found it was made by J & MP Bell & Co of Glasgow - on the other side of Scotland! I even managed to identify exactly what design it was and see what the whole plate would have looked like.
I have started to be able to tell the difference between spongeware, with its bold colourful designs, and transferware which is crisper and more detailed. By looking for photos of ceramics by the local manufacturers I've started to identify some of the designs.
Funnily enough, I've just discovered that the brother of an ancestor of mine worked in the very pottery many of my pottery fragments came from, and, at the age of just 12, he was found guilty of stealing two teacups and saucers from his workplace! It's amazing to think I may be finding pieces of the same designs he stole!
Drawing the pottery pieces in my bullet journal was really easy, because I just drew round them! Then I coloured the designs with fine or brush pens depending on the design.

I can't wait to get out to the beach to find and then identify lots more pottery!

1 comment:

Mary Johnstone said...

Hello this is great , I love it. My house is filled with the stuff . Please do more of this it is interesting for me .

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