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.