Opens with Curator-Directed Tours
At 2 p.m. on Saturday, 17 September, the Mint Museum will open Aesthetic Ambitions: Edward Lycett and Brooklyn’s Faience Manufacturing Company with curator-guided tours. Aesthetic Ambitions presents unique examples of American art pottery from the late 1800s. It will be on view at the Mint Museum Randolph until 26 February 2012.
In addition to the guided-tours, the Mint Museum Randolph will host a lecture on the exhibition on Tuesday, September 20 at 10:30 a.m. Barbara Veith, organizing curator of the exhibition, will detail Lycett’s tremendous influence as the artistic director of the Faience Manufacturing Company. The lecture will be held in Van Every Auditorium.
During the 1880s, the Faience Manufacturing Company (1881-1892), of Greenpoint, Brooklyn, earned critical acclaim for producing ornamental wares that introduced a new standard of excellence in American ceramics. These bold and eclectic wares displayed a synthesis of Japanese, Chinese, and Islamic influences characteristic of the Aesthetic Movement style. The firm owed its artistic and commercial success to Edward Lycett (1833-1910), an English china painter who became its artistic director in 1884.
Edward Lycett immigrated to New York City in 1861. His early career included a White House commission to paint additional pieces of the Lincoln administration’s porcelain dinner service for President Andrew Johnson. He held teaching positions in St. Louis, Missouri, and Cincinnati, Ohio. In 1884, Lycett began his employment with the Faience Manufacturing Company, where he experimented with ceramic bodies and glazes, and designed opulent wares. He supervised a team of talented artists, including James Callowhill (1838-1917) of the English firm Worcester Royal Porcelain, who decorated the vessels with exotic motifs in vibrant hues and costly gold paste. Lycett and his team of decorators produced pieces that were sold in the foremost jewelry and china shops throughout the United States, such as Tiffany & Company in New York and Bailey, Banks and Biddle in Philadelphia.
Nearly forty superb objects drawn from public and private collections will be on display, including vases, ewers, plates, and other decorative wares. The objects illustrate Lycett’s talent and adaptability to stylistic changes over the course of his nearly fifty-year career. Also on view in the exhibition are Lycett’s formula books, family photographs, and ephemera that illuminate the life and work of this prominent figure in American ceramic history.
The exhibition is organized and circulated by the University Of Richmond Museums, Virginia. A fully illustrated catalogue with an essay by the exhibition’s curator Barbara Veith, independent scholar of American ceramics and glass, New York, is available for purchase in The Mint Museum Shops.