Department of Anthropology

Shell-edged Pearlware

  • Type: Refined earthenware
  • Date range: c.1780-1840
  • Place of origin: England

Shell-edged decoration first appeared on creamwares. Later, shell-edge became the most common type of decoration found on pearlware. Colours applied to the rims were usually blue or green with red being less common. Shell-edging was most commonly found on flatware, such as plates and saucers.

The earlier examples of the shell-edged decoration are generally well painted, with the brush strokes being drawn in from the edge, which creates a feathery appearance (see top photo). In later examples (usually after 1800 or 1805), it was common to sweep the brush along the edge laterally, producing a stripe (see bottom photo, right).

See Noel Hume 1976: 129-131


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Top photo: Blue shell-edged plate
Bottom photo: Green shell-edged rim sherds


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