The Nicodemus Center for Ceramic Studies in Mont Alto has permanently loaned Renfrew Museum fifty-nine pieces of pottery that include John Bell along with pottery from Daniel Baker, Jacob Heart, Peter Bell, Jacob Kimmler, Upton M. Bell, and a few pieces that are not marked. The new acquisition has been arranged and is displayed in the Changing Gallery room of the Museum House. All cases in the Changing Gallery are filled with beautiful pottery that have ties to Waynesboro or the local area.
Mary Ashe-Mahr, Director of the Nicodemus Center for Ceramic Studios approached Dade Royer, Renfrew’s Executive Director, and offered the permanent loan. Renfrew jumped at the opportunity to expand our current collection. “The collection on loan from the Nicodemus Center for Ceramic Studies is an incredible addition to our Bell Family and Cumberland/Shenandoah Valley pottery exhibit. We are excited about this partnership with another great Waynesboro non-profit.” said Dade Royer.
The pottery collection contains unique pieces including earthenware, stoneware, crocks, bowls, jugs, a funnel, hanging flower pot, bed pan, pitchers, a pie plate, and a bowl from the Snow Hill Cloister. One of the most unique pieces in the donation is a small faux stoneware crock; slip decorated with cobalt hatching on everted rim and cobalt floral pattern on the exterior of the crock. Beneath the rim in cobalt is printed April 22, 1858 Waynesboro, PA. The crock is stamped John Bell/Waynesboro on the exterior below the rim. The piece is signed JWB in cobalt.
Another Bell piece that is worth a look is the lead-glazed earthenware vegetable dish. The eight-sided lead glazed earthenware vegetable dish with applied handles, slab made, decorated with four sprigged hunters with dogs and two sprigged eagles and sponged manganese on the rim, foot and handles. It is stamped John Bell on the side panel below the handle.
The Visitors Center houses the largest public collection of Bell, Shenandoah, and Cumberland Valley in the nation and we are grateful to add an additional fifty-nine pieces. Renfrew is exploring the possibility of relocating the collection to the Visitors Center so all the pottery is housed in a central location. The latest collection takes our extensive pottery collection to over 300 pieces.
The collection showcases a variety of Bell pottery along with other local potters who learned the craft locally around Waynesboro, PA. The new display will be kept in the changing gallery until a permanent pottery case is built and installed in the Visitors Center.