arrangement of items colored and blue transferware

Transferware in Two Historic Maine Houses

Lecturer: Scott Hanson

Transferware in Two Historic Maine Houses was presented at the 2021 TCC Annual Meeting. Take a look at transferware collections in two historic Maine Houses, the Dow Farm in Standish and the Whitten House in Topsham. The Donald Essman/Dow Farm Collection resides in a 1760’s farmhouse with 19th century additions which has received a museum-quality restoration over the past 45+ years. Don Essman and his husband Mike Bendzela have partnered with Dow family descendants to restore the farm and along the way a collection of British transferware pieces in a variety of patterns has been assembled for display and use in the house. Some of the patterns are documented to have been in the house historically and others chosen because they are appropriate to the restored period rooms. This is a wonderful opportunity to see British transferware displayed in restored rooms as it was seen and used in the United States in the mid-19th century.

Whitten House was home to the family of a woolen mill owner for two generations, from 1830 to 1941. It then spent 60 years as the local public library before being purchased by TCC president Scott Hanson in 2003. While restoring the house, Scott unearthed numerous transferware shards under and around the house. He will show us what was found and then tell us of his efforts to identify the patterns and collect pieces in those patterns, returning the Whitten’s China to their house – while adding a few new themes of his own.