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Washington and Lee University

Washington and Lee University

American Pickle made by Michelle Erickson

Virginia, 2008

American Pickle, Virginia 2008Made of Porcelain

Museum Purchase with Funds Provided by Herbert G. McKay

The Reeves Center, best known for its collection of historic Chinese export porcelain, recently acquired its first piece of contemporary ceramics, American Pickle, by Michelle Erickson.

American Pickle is accurate copy of a pickle stand made between 1770 and 1772 by Gousse Bonnin and George Morris's American Porcelain Manufactory in Philadelphia.

But it is more than just a replica of an eighteenth-century antique; Erickson's addition of Chinese characters and the inscription "Made in China" reminds us that the West's trade imbalance with China is not a new phenomenon, but dates back to the sixteenth century, when direct trade between China and Europe began. It is also a reminder of the vast influence that Chinese blue-and-white porcelain has had on European and American ceramics.