Using a combination of archaeological evidence and scientific analysis of the clay, the present saucer has recently been identified as one of the earliest pieces of porcelain made in Colonial America, manufactured at the factory operated by the Staffordshire potter John Bartlam at Cain Hoy, outside of Charleston, South Carolina 1765 to 1770.
Little but the basics outlined in the 2007 edition of Ceramics in America (R. Hunter, "John Bartlam: America's First Porcelain Manufacturer", The Chipstone Foundation, Milwaukee, 2007, pp. 193-195) and in Robert Hunter's January/February 2011 article for The Magazine Antiques is known about John Bartlam, the master potter from Staffordshire who came to South Carolina circa 1763 to start a factory using light quality local raw materials. Pottery was first produced, then soft paste porcelain. In 1770, Bartlam moved production from Cain Hoy to the city of Charleston, where shards have been unearthed that correspond in both decoration and chemical analysis to the present lot. By 1773, he had closed his factory and returned to England, where all of the presently known Cain Hoy pieces have been found. The most recent discovery is a teapot sold by Woolley & Wallis in February of 2018, now in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. The decoration on one side of the Metropolitan Musuem's teapot corresponds with that on the present saucer, though glaze on the teapot appears to have run somewhat in the firing.
Excluding the present example, there are less than a ten known examples from the Bartlam factory. These include the aforementioned teapot; a teabowl sold Christie's, New York, 25 January 2013; a teabowl in the Philadelphia Museum of Art (accession no. 2012-77-1); a teabowl and saucer in the same pattern as the present lot, sold Woolley & Wallis, 19 February 2019, lot 309, and now in a private collection; and a saucer on loan from a private collection at the Museum of Early Southern Decorative Arts in Winston-Salem.