With over 1,900 pieces including 59 full or partial services, the Ceramics Collection spans more than 200 years of workmanship from America, England, France, Germany, Holland, Italy, China, and Japan. It documents the introduction of Chinese export porcelains and European earthenwares to the American kitchen and table, the economic impact of 18th- and 19th-century English potteries, and the growth of the American ceramic industry into the 20th century. A presentation vase made by the Tucker Porcelain Factory in Philadelphia, awarded to a Peter family relative in 1835 by the Columbian Horticultural Society, is an excellent example of early porcelain manufacture in America.
Other highlights include 22 pieces of a 1740s Meissen tea service; American art pottery collected by the estate’s third owner, Armistead Peter, Jr., including a decorative flower vase by William Gates and the American Terra Cotta Company in Illinois; and a rare Pearlware miniature dinner service from the 1820s. The collection also includes more than 100 mid-18th-century decorative porcelain figurines, snuff boxes, and scent bottles by European manufactories including Meissen, Höchst, Bow, and Derby; these were collected in the 19th century by Josephine Law May Haines, from whom they passed to Anna Williams Peter, her niece and Armistead Peter, Jr.’s, wife.