Antique Pink Floral Wash Basin & Pitcher Set - Large Size - Handpainted
Breathe deeply, bathe daily - think joy, not sorrow - eat wisely and never speak unkindly. (The Royal Road to Beauty, 1902)
There is Harvard, the ivy-league college. Harvard, the bridge in Massachusetts. And Harvard, the town in Idaho. It's also the name of a pottery manufacturer and numerous patterns within the vintage and antique dish world. Most things named Harvard are easily researched and not hard to quickly identify but when it comes to this antique Harvard washbasin bowl and its almost exact match floral pitcher, things get a little more tricky.
There were only a few references to backstamps bearing the name Harvard, that we have found, and all of these pointed to potteries in England. But when investigating this antique basin here, whose only identifying mark is the word Harvard set against a blue globe icon, it's difficult to determine whether the name refers to a pattern or a pottery. Most references described the moniker as specific china patterns, none that matched this one and there was only one reference to a Harvard pottery name but contained no other information as to date, place, or time. Having said all that, the English pottery Alfred Meakin used this same globe-style backstamp during the years 1875-1897 usually in conjunction with the name Alfred Meakin appearing where the word Harvard is written on the bottom of this bowl. So most likely, this basin was made by Alfred Meakin in England between 1875-1897 for their Harvard pattern.
Ironically, the pitcher is no help in this origin story either. It bears no backstamp but contains almost the same exact floral pattern as the bowl. They are not an exact match, as they appear to be two different types of flowers but they are so similar that you wouldn't even notice unless you closely examined them with a discerning eye.
Another interesting element to these two is that one (the basin) was found in the South and the pitcher was found in New England, so it's almost like this pair has reunited once again. How exciting!
For all that these two pieces lack in backstory, they more than make up for in beauty. Large, heavy (12lbs!), and bright white with handpainted pink flowers and green leaves, theya re both equally gorgeous in design and usefulness. Dating somewhere around the late 1800s to the early 1900s, they both feature almost identical embossed patterns and handpainted flowers on both the interior and exterior.
Originally, these two would have aided in the daily grooming and washing habits of Victorian ladies. Modern uses for them nowadays extended to a variety of uses. Washbasins make great vessels for cleaning and soaking delicate items like lingerie or linens, and for displaying big arrangements of fruits and vegetables or plants and flowers. They also make great drink coolers when filled with ice, accommodating storage organizers for kitchen, bath, and garden needs. Around here, we like to use them in self-care routines, as their size makes an ideal soaking tub for home manicures and pedicures. Pitchers of this size are gorgeous holders for fresh flowers, water jugs for the garden and display pieces for the shelf or cupboard.
- Large size
- Handpainted flowers
- Embossed edge
- Colors include butter, celery, raspberry, pale pink and sage
- Harvard stamp on bottom of washbasin
Overall the basin is in lovely condition. There is crazing throughout on both sides. One small, hairline crack that measures 1" inch in length on the rim, and 4 tiny, insignificant nicks around the rim each measuring less than 1/8th in diameter.
The pitcher contains very light crazing on the interior and exterior. There is a small dot of paint on one side of the pitcher that measures 1/4" inch x 1/4" inch. There are no chips or cracks. The interior is very clean, and the glaze shiny and bright.
The pitcher sits firmly and securely inside the wash basin without any wobbling.
The basin measures 16" inches (diameter) x 5" inches (height) and weighs 7lbs. The pitcher measures 11.5" inches (height x 9.5" inches (width handle to spout) and weighs 4.8lbs.
Complete your grooming set with the addition of this antique wire-handled slop jar.