October 3: Samuel Sherratt (1903)

Samuel Sherratt was a well-known and highly sought after painter of china. Sherratt was born and raised in Staffordshire, England, a place renowned for the craftsmanship of its world famous potteries at Stoke on Trent. Samuel Sherratt and his wife, Margaret, came to America in 1879, when they were both about 23 years old. In the latter 19th Century, Samuel set up a decorating studio in Washington on 13th Street NW, just around the corner from Epiphany Church. He was a popular china-painting artist and teacher. He appears to have been a sought after painter of porcelain, particularly for his works decorating china with lovely floral paintings (see accompanying picture of a candy dish he painted). It is believed that pieces signed “Sherratt’s” were ones painted in his studio during this period.

In general, china painting was a widely respected art and a major hobby for women during the mid 1800s and into the early 1900s. Artists and the general public would purchase “blank white” pieces of white ware that was Czechoslovakian and as light and translucent as any Limoges. The white ware including many made by major manufacturers of Limoges china, Thomas Bavaria, Rosenthal Donatello, and decorate them either with simple gold detailing or with intricate paintings of flowers and scenes, and then take them to a shop to be kiln fired so that the paint would be “set” and not wash off. Sherratt continued his craft until his death in 1903 at age 47. Sherratt’s wife and nephew took over his shop. Samuel Sherratt’s funeral took place at the Church of the Epiphany before his interment at Rock Creek Cemetery.

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