Sgraffito ware

Image["Stacked vessels separated by tripod stilts"]
'Sgraffito' ware (i.e. scratched ware, due to the way the decoration was scratched into the surface) was made as follows:

  1. The vessels were shaped on a wheel.
  2. When leather-hard, they were coated in slip (a solution of light-coloured clay) and left to dry.
  3. Designs were scratched through the slip with a sharp tool, so that the lines showed through in the natural reddish-orange colour of the clay.
  4. The pots were fired for the first time.
  5. Colours, in the form of copper- and iron-oxide solution, were painted on with brushes. When fired, these produced green and brownish-yellow colours.
  6. The decorated areas of the pots were coated in a lead glaze that became transparent when fired.
  7. The pots were fired for a second time, stacked one inside the other and separated by small, tripod-like stands. These prevented the melting glaze from fusing the pots together in a sticky mass; but where they came into contact with the surface of the pot they prevented the glaze from 'taking' and inside every pot three small, unglazed circles can be seen.

The Fitzwilliam Museum : Sgraffito ware

By using this site you accept the
terms of our Cookie Policy

You are in: Online Resources > Online Exhibitions > Sgraffito ware