January Display Case Exhibit – Dedham Pottery

This January,  our display case features a collection of Dedham Pottery. Included in this display are a clock, Christmas ornaments, salt and pepper shakers, a picture frame, bunnies galore, and more.

The Dedham Pottery Company was founded by Hugh C. Robertson, a fifth-generation Scottish potter,  after he attended the Centennial Exhibition in Philadelphia. He viewed the  pottery from China which had a blood red crackled glaze and this inspired him to create his unique designs. In 1867, the family founded their first firm, the Chelsea Keramic Art Works in Chelsea, Massachusetts which operated from 1872-1889. It later became Chelsea Pottery US.  In 1894, Chelsea Pottery purchased 10 acres of land in East Dedham for $6,500 and in 1895 Chelsea Pottery closed and moved to Dedham, MA where  Dedham Pottery opened in 1896.

The pottery has a border of flora and fauna. The bunnies are well-known, but they also had 50 patterns which included elephants, lions, chickens, horse chestnuts, clover, butterflies, duck, owl, magnolia, iris, grapes, mushrooms, birds in an orange tree and many more. Artists painted the designs freehand and some initialed their work on the border and the bottom. The rabbit design was drawn by Boston Museum of Fine Arts teachers Alice Morse and J. Lincoln Smith.

The Dedham Historical Society owns the name and the original Dedham Pottery trademark. The Historical Society has the largest collection of Dedham Pottery on public exhibition. The Museum of Fine Arts also owns a collection.