The book is incredible! It is well written, organized and comprehensive with John Bennett information. It also has a trail of reference materials that will keep me busy for some time. I looked online to see if the price had dropped on the book. It had not. On Amazon.com the book could be found for $74.85 (used) or $2,217.54 (new)! I jumped over to Barnes and Noble.com and the book listed form various locations in the range of $229.50 – $325.47.
Here is the information about this incredible book:
Title: In Pursuit of Beauty: Americans and the Aesthetic Movement
Author: Burke, Doreen Bolger
Contributor: Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York, N.Y.)
Publisher: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1986
Length: 511 pages
The book is also available for the great price of FREE! I initially found the book at Google books. The book can be read but it currently states that an ebook is not available for downloading. To review the book, click here.
Then I found it again for FREE! The electronic version is now available from the Metropolitan Museum! The book is out of print and currently not available for purchase, but can be downloaded as a PDF! To download the book, visit MetPublications here.
To the right of the picture of the book are tab buttons which you can click to “Read online” or “Download pdf”
The book is as beautiful as it is informative. Now I have it on my iPad. It is awesome to read the book during breaks and to have the references used to write the book. Even if you have read the book, it’s great to have in your collection. The good thing about having it electronically is that it is searchable. Being searchable, makes this book valuable as a reference tool, not only for John Bennett but the other artists which contributed to the Aesthetic Movement. If you’re interested in the Aesthetic Movement, you will love this book.
Truthfully, I did not read the entire 511 page book. I did read more than just the John Bennett portions. John Bennett is discussed on pages: 20, 216-220, 231, 326, 426, 452 and 402-403
The book is comprehensive with John Bennett history, information about those that he was influenced by and his contribution to America and the Aesthetic Movement. The pictures are stunning examples of John Bennett pottery and reflect the quality and importance of the Metropolitan’s Decorative Arts collection. It also references other prestigious museums which have John Bennett work in their collection.
I would like to thank Doreen Bolger Burke for writing the book, my friend Robert for recommending it and the Metropolitan Museum for making the book available electronically. I encourage everyone to visit the museum and to support the efforts of the Metropolitan Museum. For more information about the museum, click here.
Seventh Cincinnati Industrial Exposition, 1879
I came across another book, which demonstrates the popularity of John Bennett 2 years after the Philadelphia Exposition of 1876. The book is from the college library at the Fog Art Museum at Harvard University. It was written in 1879. The book is The Official Catalogue of the Art Collection of the Seventh Cincinnati Industrial Exposition, Catalog Paintings, Engravings, Sculpture and Household Art. The catalog lists (without images) 40 pieces of John Bennett Pottery! 38 vases and 2 placques. Below I have listed the page numbers, catalog numbers and items. If there is an asterisk after the item number, the piece was available for purchase.
The book has been made available through Google’s Book project. You can read or download the book from here.
Number 19*.Vase, decorated by Bennett. John Bennett, New York.
Numbers 70 and 71*. Vases, decorated by Bennett. John Bennett, New York.
Numbers 75-77*. Vases, decorated by Bennett. John Bennett, New York.
Number 87*. Vase, decorated by Bennett. John Bennett, New York.
Numbers 90 and 91*. Vases, decorated by Bennett. John Bennett, New York.
Number 158*. Vase, decorated by Bennett. John Bennett, New York.
Number 166*. Vase, decorated by Bennett. John Bennett, New York.
Number 189*. Placque, decorated by Bennett. John Bennett, New York.
Numbers 272-275. Vases, decorated by Bennett, John Bennett New York.
Number 323. Placque, by Bennett. John Bennett, New York.
Number 329*. Vase, decorated by Bennett, John Bennett New York.
Number 332*. Vase, decorated by Bennett, John Bennett, New York.
Numbers 336-337*. Vases, decorated by Bennett. John Bennett, New York.
Number 340*. Blue vase, decorated by Bennett. John Bennett, New York.
Numbers 341 – 343*. Vases, decorated by Bennett. John Bennett, New York.
Numbers 347 – 349*. Vases, decorated by Bennett. John Bennett, New York.
Number 354*. Cylindrical vase, decorated by Bennett. John Bennett, New York.
Number 359*. Vase, decorated by Bennett. John Bennett, New York.
Number 362*. Vase, decorated by Bennett. John Bennett, New York.
Number 367*. Vase, decorated by Bennett. John Bennett, New York.
Number 369. Vase, decorated by Bennett. John Bennett, New York.
Numbers 424 – 427*. Vases, decorated by Bennett. John Bennett, New York.
Number 437*. Vase, decorated by Bennett. John Bennett, New York.
Numbers 461-462*. Vases, decorated by Bennett. John Bennett, New York.
Special thanks to Robert Tuggle and Paul Jeromack for providing me with John Bennett news and book information. Their efforts are greatly appreciated and useful.
To read the newspaper articles, click on the article and it will open in a new window and you will be able to zoom in closer. Soon I will have PDFs which you will be able to download.
To download an article now, click on it to open in a new window, then right-click on it and do a “Save as”.
To download a copy of this book go here:
New York Times; August 7, 1876
New York Time; August 20, 1876
New York Time; December 5, 1876
New York Times; December 14, 1876
New York Times; December 15, 1876
New York Times; January 29, 1878
New York Times; May 11, 1878
New York Times; September 22, 1878
New York Times; November 9, 1879
New York Times; November 12, 1879
New York Times; December 14, 1879
New York Times; March 31, 1900
If you would like to have a copy of the book, you can download it for free through Google Books.
The following link will take you to the location of the book. In the picture below you can see that to download the book you click into area of the button that looks like a sprocket next to a triangle which points down (top right).
Click and scroll down to Download PDF. That’s all folks.
Congratulations to Chuck and Carol Bennett-Hinds for having acquired a piece that was published 134 years ago.
It looks like the charger may have originally sold at Davis Collamore & Co., which was a high-end New York City importer of porcelain and glass, headed by Davis Collamore (7 October 1820 — 13 August 1887).
In the past people have asked about the additional initials on some of John Bennett’s pieces. I’ve always thought that it was a helper in the studio or a reference for a glaze that was used in order to repeat an effect. Tonight I came across a book that I thinks sheds light on the answer.
Mary Adaline Edwarda Carter
Yes, the conjoined initials are the initials of his assistant Mary Adaline Edwards Carter!
I came across the following two mentions in trade journals from 1878 & 1879
No. 5 Vol. 1, May, 1878. THE POTTERY AND GLASS TRADES’ JOURNAL (page 99)
A very nice exchange of compliments has taken place between a late Burslem artist and the poet Longfellow. Mr. John Bennett, the artist referred to, who for some time was at Doulton’s but who has now removed to America to manage an art department there, presented Longfellow with a vase of American manufacture on the occasion of the poet’s publication of his last poem, “Keramos,” which treats of the potter’s art. Mr. Longfellow thought so highly of the artist’s present as to send him in return a very characteristic letter and a copy of the poem in question. Mr. Bennett, of course, is very highly flattered by the compliment.
I looked up Keramos by Longfellow. It’s a lengthy poem (2500 words) about a potter and his wheel. No wonder John Bennett liked it so much.
November 1, 1879. THE POTTERY AND GLASS TRADES’ JOURNAL (page 429)
Mr. John Bennett, formerly superintendent of the Doulton factory at Lambeth, has established himself here. The excellence of the colour and beauty of the glaze of the articles resulting from one of his bakes have caused a large number to visit the works. An extraordinarily beautiful vase, ten inches high, with a glaze as beautiful as a soap bubble in the air, the colours, which are numerous, coming out intensified, has been sold to one of the Havilands, of Limoges, who declares he has never seen one so beautiful.
The Art journal, Volume 4, 1878
I found an article in The Art Journal, vol. 4, 1878 (now in Google Books). The link to it is under the cover picture below. Note if you download the publication you’ll find it’s huge (546 pages, 231 MB). It’s a small piece but gives a glimpse of John Bennett’s studio on Lexington Avenue in New York.
page 31 (if you download the PDF, it’s actually on page 57)
This Google Book can be viewed or downloaded from here.
ART-POTTERY. – A most valuable and interesting Art-pottery studio has recently been opened in New York by Mr. John Bennett, of Lambeth, England. Mr. Bennett was long connected with the Doulton potteries, and is described in the authorized account of them as their” able director of all the practical work in the Faience Department.” He it was who superintended or himself painted the most beautiful varieties of the Doulton ware, which excited such admiration at the Centennial Exhibition. Never until now has there been a display of American pottery such as for the past few weeks has drawn the attention of the public at Davis Collamore’s shop in Broadway. Here are ranged on a long table about a hundred jars, vases, plaques, and other articles, whose enameled surfaces are covered with dogwood flowers, hawthorn-blossoms, roses, and asters. These lifelike designs are painted with masterly touches upon backgrounds of the hues of lapis lazuli, bronze greens and golden browns, such as have always been a delight and a mystery to the connoisseur in china-decoration. The specimens at Collamore’s are all of them what is called “underglazed ” pottery, which we believe, has never been successfully done before in America. Underglazed painting is made directly upon the biscuit, and afterwards, the jars or vases being covered with vitreous enamel, the rich, soft colours of the design are fused in the into the very substance of the article. No sort of decoration in pottery is considered so legitimate and so desirable as this underglaze-work. Of this kind are the beautiful Limoges and majolica wares.
The pottery-studio of Mr. Bennett is in Lexington Avenue, in this city, and a visit to it recalls similar fascinating spots in England and France. Here may be seen undecorated biscuit-jars and other articles, whose graceful forms are such as attract admiration in Lambeth or at Minton’s. Here, upon tables, are set out long lines of biscuit-tiles, upon which the student or Mr. Bennett himself has drawn his or her designs, or has partially covered them with colour. Pitchers or jugs appear tinted with shapes of birds and plants, and open sketchbooks disclose fresh and free studies from Nature, which furnish the model for the paintings. Behind the house, in which the studio is situated. Mr. Bennett has his kilns, and thus in our very midst are fused as exquisite tints into as smooth and polished a surface as delight us in the best manufactures of Europe. The decoration of Mr. Bennett is of a high, artistic class, and readers of the memoirs of Wedgwood and Palissy Potter will appreciate how good they are when they recall the number of experiments that were made before these men discovered how just the right kind of transparency and polish were obtained in the glazes. They will remember, also, the thought and time which were wasted to learn the proportion of paint, or of heat for some shade of blue or purple, and what sufferings and deprivations were endured by famous potters of old to a particular kind of jet of the delicate differences made by a more or less salt in a glaze. It is for these nice differences that Mr. Bennett’s work is distinguished; and when we discover, besides, that these artistic decorations can be obtained as cheaply here as in London or Paris, it encourages us to believe that the time for highly-skilled manufacture has at length arrived for the United States. Mr. Bennett has taken American assistants, and with American clay and in an American city he is seeking to establish a manufacture which shall vie with the best work of Limoges, Spode, or Lambeth •
I came across this book online which has references to John Bennett. It was published in 1893. I am including the cover and a few extracts. It is a free Google book. (If you want to see more, click on the book cover)
Click on the link below and the article will download.
In the beginning was the 1876 Centennial. That is when the United States first embraced the work of John Bennett.
Below is the exhibition’s catalogue cover.
I came across the catalogue cover in a book from the Harvard College Library. You can download a PDF of the book from Google books (free) by clicking on the cover below:
Another book at Harvard College Library is Potters, their arts and crafts. If you click on the cover below, you will be linked to where you can download the book from Google books (also free).
In 1877, Mr. John Bennett, one of Doulton’s artists, settled in New York, and introduced the Lambeth style of faience painting.
Nothing so rich in colour had till then been seen in American pottery.
The European exhibits at the Centennial Exhibition of Philadelphia in 1876 were great incentives to the American potters, and it may now be said that in beauty of workmanship and originality of ideas the leading firms have little to learn. As regards the more practical side of ceramics, brick and terra-cotta making, the Americans have gone to the front in a remarkable way; new machines and new methods of burning attest their inventiveness.; numerous improvements in terra-cotta have revolutionised American city architecture, and buildings are erected now in steel and burnt clay which a few years ago would have been thought impossible.
We live in an amazing time. We are gaining access to information from the greatest museums, libraries and educational institutions.
Special thanks to the Harvard College Library and Google books.
Visit a museum or library, even if only online. The web is a terrible thing to waste.