FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 23, 2004
Contact: Maribeth Cowan, Public Relations Director
(804) 342-9665 email:
STONEWARE POTTERY OF EASTERN VIRGINIA OPENS SEPTEMBER 11 AT VIRGINIA HISTORICAL SOCIETY
Richmond, VA–For the first time, examples of all the major stoneware manufactories of eastern
Virginia will be on display beginning September 11, 2004, at the Virginia Historical Society. Stoneware
Pottery of Eastern Virginia, on view through February 1, 2005, features nearly 50 objects representative
of the utilitarian salt-glazed stoneware that was manufactured between 1720 and 1865. Of note are some
very rare fragments from the Benjamin DuVal Pottery. DuVal was a Richmond pharmacist and
entrepreneur who began manufacturing clay roofing tile in 1808 north of Main Street between 23rd
and 24th. In February 2002, by coincidence, exhibition guest curator, Rob Hunter, rode by the site
and to his horror, saw a bulldozer excavating the land where the Richmond ceramics pottery once
stood. Hunter quickly organized about a dozen archaeologists to recover what they could, but not
before a 20-foot pit had been dug, into which thousands of important stoneware pieces were lost.
In 1720 in Yorktown, William Rogers established the first successful pottery factory in America. A chamber
pot and storage jar, manufactured by Rogers in the early 18th century, are representative examples from this factory.
By the mid-nineteenth century utilitarian stoneware was being produced in nearly every state.
Other intact pottery examples include an 1856, 20-gallon cooler, embellished with elaborate cobalt blue
decoration by David Parr's Pottery of Richmond, and pieces by John P. Schermerhorn featuring an incised
and cobalt-filled American eagle, a whimsical clipper ship, and an extraordinary self-portrait of the potter. The
exhibition also presents stoneware pottery from Petersburg, Charles City, and Alexandria.
An additional pottery exhibition, "Fancy Rockingham" Pottery: The Modeller and Ceramics in Nineteenth-Century
America, is on view at the Lora Robins Gallery of Design from Nature, University of Richmond Museums, September 9,
2004, through February 27, 2005. Selected from several New York collections, the objects in this exhibition highlight the
range and variety in styles, glazes, and materials found in these decorative and utilitarian ceramics. Presented together,
these two exhibitions offer a wonderful overview of stoneware pottery from the eastern and western regions.
The Virginia Historical Society is located at 428 N. Boulevard. The Story of Virginia, An American Experience,
a 10,000-square-foot exhibition with more than a thousand objects covering all of Virginia history from prehistoric
times to the present is featured in the Robins Center for Virginia History. Hours: Monday-Saturday 10am - 5pm
and Sunday 1pm - 5pm (Museum Galleries only). Admission: $5/adults, $4/seniors 55+ ($2/Tuesdays–galleries
only), $3/children and students, free/members. Admission to the galleries is free on Mondays. For group tour
information, call (804) 342-9652. For more information, please call (804) 358-4901 or visit