National Gallery of Art - THE COLLECTION
image of Toleware Coffee Pot Toleware Coffee Pot
Rendered by Charles Henning (artist), c. 1940
watercolor, gouache, pen and ink, and graphite on paperboard
overall: 34.5 x 27.9 cm (13 9/16 x 11 in.) Original IAD Object: 6" in diameter; 8 1/2" high
Index of American Design
1943.8.16760
Not on View
From the Tour: Pennsylvania German Folk Art from the Index of American Design
Object 10 of 23

Toleware is painted tinplate. Also called "japanned-ware," it originated in the Orient, spread to Europe and then to America where it reached a height of popularity in the nineteenth century. Because toleware was prized for its decoration, it was often presented as a wedding or birthday gift and reserved for display. Like this coffeepot, toleware was generally painted with a black asphaltum varnish that imitated lacquer. The decoration was executed with oil paint in bright yellows, greens, blues, and Chinese vermilion. Fruits, flowers, and ornamental swirls were common motifs. Although toleware was made in several New England states as well as in Pennsylvania, the bold colors mark this pieces as Pennsylvania German.

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