Bequest of M. Carey Thomas, President of Bryn Mawr College, 1894-1922
Bryn Mawr College
W.139 (Wyndham No.)
Furnishings and Furniture; Furniture; Chair
Bryn Mawr College, Wyndham Alumnae House, 1st Floor
Small ceramic stool or table (tabouret). Roughly barrel-shaped with two raised bands – one near the top and the other near the bottom. On either side are two holes surrounded by a raised area, presumably handles. The entire tabouret is a mottled red-brown-blue color. The top is flat with a spiral design.
Increased interest in and inspiration from Japanese art in the 19th century can be connected with the shift in social, economic, and political relations between America and Japan. From 1633-1853, Japan’s strict isolationist policy limited contact with foreigners. Over the course of 1853-1854, however, an American embassy coerced the Japanese government to adopt a treaty that would open Japan to foreigners. The influx of Japanese goods after the treaty exposed American artists to Japanese art and design. An example of the incorporation of these new artistic influences is the work of the American artist, Lockwood de Forest (1850-1932), at Bryn Mawr’s Deanery. The celebrated Blue Room in particular had gold designs that de Forest stenciled on the ceiling reminiscent of Japanese textiles, and the spiked flowers of the Japanese pagoda tree were the model for the stencil designs on the sofa and daybed. The tabouret is a Japanese Garden seat purchased by M. Carey Thomas, the first dean and second president of Bryn Mawr College, from de Forest.
Thin, opaque, vitreous coating that is applied to the surface of a ceramic body by painting, spraying, or dipping, in order to add color, texture, or water resistance to the object. The glaze is applied to the surface of a fired ceramic piece, and then the piece is refired at a temperature that vitrifies the glaze, but is lower than the original firing temperature. Ceramic glazes are usually mixtures of silicates, colorants, and flux.