"Winter View of Pittsfield Mass." Plate



"Winter View of Pittsfield Mass." Plate


James and Ralph Clews


1825-30 (ca.)


10 9/16 inches (d)


Transfer-printed stoneware

Object No.


Credit line

Museum purchase


Shop mark (eagle with shield and ribbon in mouth over "Clews") stamped on back with "Winter View of Pittsfield Mass." on ribbon; impressed asterisk mark on back.


Gustav Stickley owned a version of this pattern and prominently displayed it on the sideboard of his Syracuse home, which was illustrated in The Craftsman in November 1901, as well as his 1902 catalog "Things Wrought by the United Crafts for the Cobb-Eastman Company." It later appeared on the same model sideboard (no. 961), which was photographed (possibly at his Syracuse factory) for the retail plates he distributed in 1902 as well as on Buffet (no. 955).

The plate depicts a view of the town's towering Elm, a tree noted for its size and beauty that stood at the center of Pittsfield. Fenced in by 1820 to help protect and preserve it, the Elm was struck by lightening in 1861 and no longer stands. Behind the massive tree, and featured in the lunettes on the plate's border, is the city's First Congregational Church, an early work by architect Charles Bulfinch, who later received notable commissions including the Massachusetts State House (1798) and worked on the United States Capitol.

Stickley's tastes were diverse. The ceramics in the Log House we have been able to document included works by Grueby, Martin Brothers stoneware, Art Nouveau ceramics sold by Siegfried Bing, Delft wall plaques, 19th century Staffordshire pieces, and Native American pottery. His personal surroundings stand in sharp contrast from the purity of his interiors illustrated in The Craftsman and are a reminder not to conflate the Stickley the man with the myths we create about Stickley as a leader of the Arts and Crafts movement in the United States.