Hidden in Plain Sight:
The Material World of Early Springfield



Porcelain platter

c. 1835-1850
Collection of the Springfield Art Association

Porcelain plate

c. 1835-1850
Recovered from the Edwards Place privy
Collection of the Illinois State Musem

French porcelain tableware was a luxury item favored by Springfield’s social elite. Porcelain cost, on average, ten times more than British earthenware. In antebellum years most Parisian porcelain was unadorned except for a gold band around the rim.

Fragments of gold-banded porcelain recovered from the Edwards Place privy match a platter donated to the Springfield Art Association by the Edwards’ granddaughter. The privy excavation reunited two pieces of the same set that had been separated for 150 years.