Five yellow earthenware chamber pots were recovered from the Jacksonville “Blue China” site. These yellow-bodied vessels resemble American made yellow-ware produced by British immigrant potters who established a number of potteries in the United States in the 1830s. Much of the yellow ware produced at this time was decorated in the British tradition with slip decoration most prevalent. Since no useable white-ﬁring clay sources were found in America until later in the century, yellow ochre bodies predominated. North American dipped wares of the period are difficult to distinguish from the yellow-bodied wares produced in potting centers in Great Britain. However, given the predominance of British ceramics identified on the “Blue China” shipwreck, the yellow wares are also very probably of English manufacture, most likely from the Derbyshire region known for its yellow-bodied wares.
Four of the chamber pots, including this example, are decorated with thin blue lines and a wide white band, over which is are variations of a blue “dentritic” tree-like decoration applied in a band around the pot. Such slip-glazed ceramics, known as Mocha ware, was developed in the late 18th century in Staffordshire, England. The earliest written reference to this pottery form is associated with Lakin and Poole factory invoices dating to 1792-96. This distinctive pottery type was named after the Yemeni port city of Al Mukah, called ‘Mocha’ in the 18th and 19th centuries by the English-speaking world. Famous for its export of coffee, it was also renowned for the large quantities of Arabian moss agate or ‘mocha stone’ it shipped to London in the latter part of the 18th century. Characterized by delicate and beautiful fern or tree-like striations, this semi-precious gemstone was imported by London merchants for setting in fashionable gold and silver female jewelry. The popularity of moss agate inspired the production of slip-decorated earthenware, decorated with patterns simulating the stone’s dendritic visual effect, and was typically featured on common utilitarian wares such as jugs, mugs, chamber pots and bowls.