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FREDERICK CARPENTER - A LIFE'S JOURNEY

CONNECTICUT TO BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS

AS IT IS WITH SO MANY GREAT AND LEGENDARY POTTERS IN AMERICAN HISTORY, MANY WERE TRAINED AT AN EARLY AGE IN CONNECTICUT. SITTING JUST ACROSS THE LONG ISLAND SOUND FROM NEW YORK CITY, CONNECTICUT WAS SETTLED VERY EARLY IN OUR COLLECTIVE HISTORY. TOWNS LIKE NORWALK, GREENWICH AND HARTFORD BORE SOME OF THE GREATEST POTTERS OF THE 19TH CENTURY AS AMERICA MOVED AWAY FROM THE CITY AND SETTLED AMERICA.


NEW HAVEN IS A BEAUTIFUL TOWN AND SITUATED ALONG THE SOUTHERN COAST, RIGHT ON LONG ISLAND SOUND AND IS HOME TO YALE UNIVERSITY. IN THE LAST HALF OF THE 1700'S, NEW HAVEN WAS ALSO THE HOME TO A POTTERY OWNED AND OPERATED BY NATHAN AND SOLOMON FENTON, EARLIEST OF RECORD, AND THEN BY JACOB FENTON, AROUND THE TURN OF THE 19TH CENTURY. IT WAS AT THIS POTTERY THAT FREDERICK CARPENTER WORKED ALONG SIDE THE OWNERS SON, JONATHAN FENTON. THE TWO YOUNG MEN, FENTON AND CARPENTER, JOURNEYED OUT ON THEIR OWN AS YOUNG MEN, BOTH EXTREMELY TALENTED AND WELL TRAINED IN MAKING STONEWARE. WITH SOME HELP FROM A FAMILY FRIEND, THE FUNDING WAS PROVIDED, AND THE TWO BUILT A  POTTERY ON LYNN ST. IN BOSTON MASSACHUSETTS. THIS POTTERY "THE LYNN ST. POTTERY" IS ONE OF THE EARLIEST AMERICAN, WELL DOCUMENTED CONSTRUCTION PROJECTS OF A POTTERY, FOR USE OF MAKING STONEWARE. THIS WAS AROUND THE YEAR 1793.

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GET MORE INFORMATION AND A GREAT TEXT TO READ ABOUT FREDERICK CARPENTER AND STONEWARE IN GENERAL IN;

WIILIAM KETCHUMS JR'S BOOK

"AMERICAN STONEWARE"

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THE SAME BUT VERY DIFFERENT

AT LYNN ST.

FENTON WAS OF GERMANIC DECENT. THIS, TODAY SEEMS LIKE A TRIVIAL AND BY SOME STANDARDS A BIAS NOTATION, BUT IN THE 1790'S IT MEANT SOMETHING. FENTON CARRIED OUT HIS ANCESTRAL TRAINING PASSED TO HIM BY JUST A GENERATION OR SO BEFORE HIM WHO HAD ARRIVED ON AMERICAN SHORES. DISTINCT BODY LINES, ACCURATE APPLICATION OF INCISING AND COBALT GLAZING. A VERY "CORRECT" MANNER OF THIS EARLY AGE IN AMERICA OF "PRIMITIVE STONEWARE".


CARPENTER WAS OF ENGLISH DECENT AND MADE HUGELY OVOID SHAPED FORMS AND USED OCHER OR FERRUGINOUS GLAZE TO DIP, NOT PAINT, HIS STONEWARE. HIS HANDLES SAT, LOOPED BRIEFLY ATOP THE UPPER SHOULDER ON JUGS AND HIS CROCKS WIDE AND OPEN IN A MORE DRASTIC OVOID FORM. THESE EARLY CARPENTER PIECES ARE UTILITARIAN AND LESS "CORRECT" BUT IN THAT PRIMITIVE LOOK, LIES GREAT BEAUTY.


SO, "SOMETHING FOR EVERYONE" WAS THE ADVERTISING FOR THE NEW POTTERY, AS THE TWO NEW PARTNERS COULD SERVICE MOST OF BOSTONS POPULATION THAT COULD RELATE TO ONE OR THE OTHERS WORK. YOU SEE, IN 1793 IN AMERICA EVERYONE WAS FROM SOMEWHERE. THE SOMEWHERES WERE IN EUROPE AND THE BRITISH AND GERMAN IMMIGRANTS MADE UP A HUGE PART OF THAT SOMEWHAT SEGREGATED BOSTONIAN POPULATION.


BOTH POTTERS MARKED THE STONEWARE WITH IDENTIFIABLE STAMPS WHICH READ "BOSTON", ALL CAPITAL LETTERS. THE LETTERS APPEAR TO BE TYPEFACE WHICH WERE UNUSED WORN LETTERS NO LONGER USEFUL FOR PRINTING ON PAPER BUT WELL SERVED FOR THIS APPLICATION. THEY WERE ACQUIRED MOST LIKELY FROM A LOCAL NEWSPAPER AND LOOK TO HAVE BEEN MOUNTED IN SOME MANNER TO MAKE A STAMP OF SORTS.

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CHARLESTOWN MASSACHUSETTS

JOURNEY CONTINUES

SOMETIME JUST BEFORE THE TURN OF THE 19TH CENTURY, JUST A FEW SHORT YEARS AFTER THE START OF THE POTTERY AT LYNN ST., THE YOUNG PARTNERS BROKE THEIR PARTNERSHIP. WHY THIS OCCURRED, IS MOST LIKELY LOST IN HISTORY, BUT SPECULATION WAS, AT THE TIME, THAT FUNDING FROM THEIR BENEFACTOR HAD BEEN STRAINED TO THE POINT OF EXHAUSTION. THERE IS/WAS NO PROOF OF THAT, IT WAS JUST HEARSAY.


CARPENTER THEN MOSTLY VANISHES FOR A FEW YEARS AND THERE IS NO CONFIRMED RECORD OF HIS WHEREABOUTS. IT HAS BEEN SAID, HE RETURNED TO WORK FOR JACOB FENTON IN NEW HAVEN OR THAT HE WORKED FOR THE DUTCH POTTERS, STATES FAMILY, BUT NOTHING IS DOCUMENTED. 


CARPENTER THEN REAPPEARS IN THE RECORDS AT CHARLESTOWN, MASSACHUSETTS, A SECTION OF BOSTON, AS A POTTER IN 1801. HIS POTTERY AND KILN WERE LOCATED ON THE MYSTIC RIVER AND CARPENTER WORKS THERE FOR ABOUT TEN YEARS,  TO ABOUT 1811. THESE STONEWARE EXAMPLES ARE MARKED WITH "Boston" SHOWING A CAPITAL LETTER TO THE STAMP.


IN 1812 FREDERICK CARPENTER GOES TO WORK FOR THE BARNABAS EDMANDS POTTERY IN CHARLESTOWN AS MASTER POTTER. IN HIS NEW ASSIGNMENT, HE MAKES STONEWARE WITH THE IMPRINT "CHARLESTOWN" ALL CAPITAL LETTERS. DURING THIS PERIOD, CARPENTER USED A SERIES OF INCISED FIGURAL STAMPS, AT TIMES TO ACCOMPANY THE CHARLESTOWN STAMP, WHICH INCLUDED, HEARTS, EAGLES, SHIELDS, STARS AND TASSLES. THERE ARE SOME SEVENTEEN KNOWN STAMPS HE USED DURING HIS TIME AT EDMANDS.


IN 1827, FREDERICK CARPENTER PASSED AWAY EARLY, LEAVING THE WORLD WITH A LIFETIME OF TREASURED STONEWARE. FOR MANY YEARS UP UNTIL THE 1950'S HIS WORK WENT ON UNDOCUMENTED AND UNDERVALUED. THE RESEARCH OF CARPENTERS LIFE IS LARGELY DUE TO EFFORTS OF LURA WOODSIDE WATKINS AND HER FAMILY AND FRIENDS WHO DEDICATED MUCH EFFORT AND TIME TO THE TASK OF FINDING OUT WHO THIS PERSON WAS AND WHAT HE HAD ACHIEVED. TODAY FREDERICK CARPENTER STONEWARE IS REVERED BY COLLECTORS AND LOVED BY ALL WHO READ HIS STORY OF AMERICAN DETERMINATION.


TAB DOWN TO SEE REAL PICTURES OF FREDERICK CARPENTER STONEWARE!

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PLEASE VISIT OUR SOLD ARCHIVE OF STONEWARE LISTED ON THE HOME PAGE. YOU CAN LOOK FOR AND FIND MANY CARPENTER PIECES IN OUR ARCHIVE.