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Dedham Pottery began in approximately 1866 by Alexander Robertson. His brother, Hugh Cornwall Robertson joined him in 1868. It was then named A.W. & H.C. Robertson. James Robertson, the father of sons Alexander and Hugh, joined his sons in 1872. It was then renamed Chelsea Keramic Art Works Robertson and Sons in 1872 in Chelsea, Massachusetts.
James Robertson died in 1880, Alexander moved to California, leaving Hugh in Chelsea alone to run the pottery. Hugh's experimentations brought forth a glaze similar to the prized Chinese Ming-era blood-red glaze. The vase with the blood-red glaze were marked "CKAW". Creating these vases was very expensive. Even though the vases received critical acclaim the company went into bankruptcy In 1889 and the factory was closed.
It was reorganized in 1891 as the Chelsea Pottery U.S. by Hugh Robertson . It was known for its crackleware dishes with pictures of cobalt blue outlines of animals, flowers, and other natural scenes. The rabbit was the most popular.
Hugh Robertson moved the pottery to Dedham, Massachusetts in 1896, renaming it Dedham Pottery. By 1943, between 50-80 patterns had been produced. There were 13 standard patterns, some of which were: Magnolia, Iris, Butterfly, Duck, Polar Bear, and Rabbit. Hugh's son and grandson continued the business until it was closed in 1943.
Dedham Pottery Examples
The rabbit was the company logo. On early pieces the rabbit faced the left. Later, decorators learned that reversing the rabbit to the right was easier to paint. Therefore, the rabbit logo was reversed to face the right. Earlier examples are worth 10%-20% more than later identical pieces. Artist signed pieces are highly valued by collectors.
"Chelsea Keramic Art Works Robertson and Sons" - 1874-1880
"CKAW" - 1875-1889
"CPUS" in a cloverleaf - 1891-1895
Foreshortened rabbit only - 1894-1896
Conventional rabbit with "Dedham Pottery" in square blue stamped mark along with one impressed foreshortened rabbit - 1896-1928
Blue rabbit stamped mark with "registered" beneath along with two impressed foreshortened rabbits marks - 1929-1943
Kovel's Antiques & Collectibles Price List 2003--35th Edition
Schroeder's Antiques Price Guide-Eighteenth
Warman's Antiques and Collectibles Price Guide - 32nd Edition
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