Newport, Rhode Island; England: John Maddock Company, [circa 1912].
Unbound. A collection of nine pieces of Suffrage dinnerware consisting of two teacups, two saucers, two dinner plates, two bread and one berry bowl, each with the manufacturing mark of the John Maddock Company of England on the bottom except for the teacups. All items are very good with small chips, slight repairs, some discoloration, and the lettering on one teacup bleeding a little.
A stoneware dinner set commissioned by Alva Vanderbilt Belmont from the John Maddock Company of England with “Votes for Women” imprinted in blue on each piece. Alva had the pieces made for her Newport cottage, Marblehouse, which she built while married to her first husband, William Kissam Vanderbilt. After her second husband Oliver Hazard Perry Belmont died in 1908, Alva reopened Marblehouse in order to hold fundraising events for the Suffrage Movement. According to historian Janet W. Buell, Alva “made the attainment of votes for women her paramount objective after becoming widowed in 1908.” This set according to *Women’s Suffrage Memorabilia* by Kenneth Florey, represents the “most celebrated of all American suffrage dinnerware.” Alva’s stoneware was used for open houses at Marblehouse to raise funds for suffrage causes. Florey writes, “guests were charged five dollars to tour the grounds...and listen to a suffrage lecture.” After opening her Chinese Teahouse on the grounds of Marblehouse, Alva hosted the Council of Great Women Conference in July of 1913 where the dinnerware was present. Additionally, pieces of the stoneware were sold out of the Headquarters in New York of Alva’s Political Equality Association as another way for advocates to lend support to the Suffrage cause.
An interesting and very uncommon collection of stoneware created for the Suffrage cause by renowned socialite and activist Alva Vanderbilt Belmont.