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October 2011

Mint Museum Randolph in Charlotte, NC, Features American Art Pottery

The Mint Museum Randolph in Charlotte, NC, is presenting the exhibit, Aesthetic Ambitions: Edward Lycett and Brooklyn’s Faience Manufacturing Company, featuring unique examples of American art pottery from the late 1800s, on view in the Bridges & Levine Galleries, Through Feb. 26, 2012.

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, MO, and Cincinnati, OH. 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.

With over 200,000 visitors each year, The Mint Museum is comprised of two dynamic facilities: the newly opened Mint Museum Uptown and the historic Mint Museum Randolph. As the oldest art museum in North Carolina, The Mint Museum offers its visitors a remarkable opportunity to experience art through two facilities that feature a global collection of over 33,000 objects spanning over 4,500 years of human creativity.

Located in what was the original branch of the United States Mint, the Mint Museum Randolph opened in 1936 in Charlotte’s Eastover neighborhood. Today, intimate galleries invite visitors to engage with the art of the ancient Americas, ceramics and decorative arts, historic costume and fashionable dress, European, African, and Asian art, among other collections. Resources include a reference library with over 18,000 volumes, a theater featuring lectures and performances, and a Museum Shop.

For further information check our NC Institutional Gallery listings, call the Museum at 704/337-2000 or visit (

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