‘Aesthetic Ambitions’ Of Ceramic Artist Edward Lycett Examined In Dec. 9 Talk

Edward Lycett (American, b England 1833–1910), covered vase, circa 1887, Faience Manufacturing Company (1881–1892), vase, cream-colored earthenware painted over ivory glaze and luster ground with polychrome enamels and flat gold decoration, 18¼ inches high. Lora Robins Gallery of Design from Nature, University of Richmond Museums, gift of Emma and Jay Lewis.

GREENWICH, CONN. — How did a gritty industrial area of Brooklyn, N.Y., become known as the site of exquisite Nineteenth Century ceramic art pieces, and who seized the reins as its unusually gifted stylist and artisan? These mysteries will be revealed on Monday, December 9, during an illustrated lecture at the Bruce Museum beginning at 1:15 pm.

“Aesthetic Ambitions: Edward Lycett and Brooklyn’s Faience Manufacturing Company” is the title of this presentation to be given by Barbara Veith and sponsored by the Connecticut Ceramics Study Circle. Veith is an independent scholar of American ceramics and glass and faculty member of graduate museum programs. Based on her fascination with the Nineteenth Century’s Aesthetic Movement, Veith began to unearth records and history of the Faience Manufacturing Company, drawn by its large-size exotic wares and also by its diminutive “china painter,” Edward Lycett, who became the company’s artistic director and marketing genius in 1884.

Veith was led by two threads of discovery: the emergence of the Faience Manufacturing Company in the hotbed of ceramic potteries of Greenpoint, Brooklyn, as well by the personal history of Lycett, an English immigrant whose talent as a porcelain painter brought him from his native Staffordshire to New York in 1861. His immense talent and drive earned him recognition and respect, leading to a White House commission for the Andrew Johnson administration, teaching positions in St Louis and Cincinnati and notice from the notable Nineteenth Century ceramic historian Edwin Atlee Barber for setting a new standard of excellence in American ceramics.

Veith is uniquely positioned to tell this story, having recently organized the traveling exhibition “Aesthetic Ambitions,” which originated at the University of Richmond Museum and traveled to the Mint Museum and the Brooklyn Museum earlier this year. She is an adjunct faculty member for the MA program in the history of decorative arts and design at the Parsons New School for Design, the Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum, the Smithsonian Institution where she teaches American and Western European ceramic history. She has previously worked at Christie’s and New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art.

This is the third presentation in an eight-month lecture series established by the Connecticut Ceramics Study Circle. The lecture fee for nonmembers is $25. As always, refreshments are included and served following all presentations. Reservations are not necessary.

The Bruce Museum is at One Museum Drive. For information, email info@ctceramicscircle.org or call 914-921-0621.


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