Grueby Japanesque Wall Plaque
Grueby Faience Company (1897-1920), Boston c. 1905-1910
Grueby Pottery was entirely hand made and, in that sense, the individual modelling assured variations in each piece created by the firm. This plaque is one of a few examples by Grueby – which was known for its matte glazes – that were left in a bisque state. The relief may have been one of the bisque items sold around 1910 at Grueby’s final sale. It is known that when Grueby Faience Company voluntarily went into receivership in 1909, “much of Grueby Pottery’s stock, including unglazed biscuit ware, was sold to help pay the debts….” (Montgomery, p. 88.) Penciled notations on the face of this piece may indicate choices for intended colors specified prior to its sale on that occasion.
The unusual plaque is modelled as Japanesque fretwork frame through which three exotic birds perched in stylized blossoming branches are seen – all in sculpted relief. This rare white bisque artwork is remarkably well preserved, with no apparent method of hanging, nor any evidence of ever having been installed with grout or mortar.