Book Award for 2013

The tome Delftware in the Fitzwilliam Museum is the winner of the American Ceramic Circle Book Award for 2013. Fitzwilliam Museum Curator Julia Poole gives an extensive introduction to the life and collecting of Dr. J.W.L. Glaisher (1848-1928), a preeminent mathematician and astronomer, who formed the ceramics collection singlehandedly over a period of 30 years. Author Michael Archer provides a short review of how delftware was manufactured and then devotes the remainder of the book to the extensive and comprehensive catalogue of the Fitzwilliam Museum's English and Irish delftware collection. The catalog object entries are divided by forms and function: chargers; plates and dishes; jugs and mugs; puzzle jugs and posset pots; wine containers; porringers and bowls; salts and candlesticks; utensils for tea and coffee; receptacles for flowers; storage jars and apothecary pots; shoes, hand warmers & plaques; and finally tiles. The appendices include Shapes of plates and dishes, Concordances of museum and catalogue numbers, Sales by dealers and auctions houses to J.W.L. Glaisher, Select bibliography, and useful Index.

The Fitzwilliam Museum (Cambridge University’s museum of art) possesses an extraordinary collection of English and Irish delftware bequeathed by Dr. Glaisher – which until this publication was relatively little known outside the confines of museum curators. (The previous two-volume set of the Glaisher Collection had published the collection in black and white images with little interpretation. That publication written by Bernard Rackham in 1935, and reprinted by the Antique Collectors Club in 1987, did little justice to this incredible assemblage.) A detailed publication of this collection has been long overdue, and Michael Archer, retired curator of ceramics and glass from the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, was the right person to write it.

The ACC Book Award was established in order to recognize publications that advance the study of ceramics and promise to become major references in the field.



Press Release (PDF)