National Gallery of Art - THE COLLECTION
image of Pennsylvania German Plate Pennsylvania German Plate
Rendered by Eugene Shellady (artist), 1938
oil paint on paperboard
overall: 43.6 x 37.9 cm (17 3/16 x 14 15/16 in.) Original IAD Object: 14" Dia
Index of American Design
1943.8.8021
Not on View
From the Tour: Pennsylvania German Folk Art from the Index of American Design
Object 2 of 23

Slip-trailing was another method used by potters to decorate ornamental redware. A more difficult technique than sgraffito, slip-trailed decoration resulted from pouring slip -- a thin, white clay -- from a slip cup through a goose quill. This method required great skill in controlling the thin stream of slip to achieve the desired pattern. In decorating this plate, several goose quills were used at once in the slip-trailing process to achieve the concentric lines around the border. When the slip dried, it was beaten into the piece so that the decoration became an integral part of the fired dish. The design on this dish, representing the traditional Pennsylvania German tulip, was drawn in white, green, and black slip. Dated October 1797, the dish was made by John Leidy when he was sixteen years old. The inscription around the rim reads: "Rather would I single live than the wife the breeches give."

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