Rare Antique Harvard Wash Basin Bowl - Handpainted Flowers - Large Size
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, 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-like icon, it's difficult to determine whether the name refers to a pattern or 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 backstamp of this bowl. So most likely, this basin was made by Alfred Meakin in England between 1875-1897 for their Harvard pattern.
But for all that this mysterious basin lacks in origin story, it more than makes up for in beauty. Large, heavy (7lbs!), and bright white with handpainted pink flowers and green leaves, it is a gem in design and usefulness. Dating somewhere around the late 1800s to the early 1900s, it features an embossed rim and floral designs on both the inside and outside of the bowl.
Originally, this basin would have with a matching pitcher and aided in personal grooming each day. Modern uses for large washbasins like this are endless. They 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 make great drink coolers when filled with ice, accomodating storage organizers for kitchen, bath, and garden needs. and around here, we like to use them in self-care routines as their size makes an ideal soaking tub for home manicures and pedicures. They also just look beautiful when used in a solely decorative way perched on a shelf or in a display cupboard.
- Large size
- Handpainted flowers
- Embossed edge
- Colors include butter, celery, raspberry, and sage
- Harvard stamp on bottom
Overall this 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.
Measures 16" inches (diameter) x 5" inches (height) and weighs 7lbs