The Palatines didn't leave much behind. They arrived in the Hudson Valley in 1710 on ships after spending years waiting on boats in New York Harbor. They had left Europe as refugees, and they disembarked as indentured laborers. It wasn't a great start. The families went on to found small towns on either side of the Hudson, including Germantown — which is how we first became curious about them. Who were these people? How did they end up here? And what were their lives like? Well, their lives were really hard. That's for certain. Some of the only evidence we have of their daily life, though, are fragments of plates and dishes.
These fragments have been discovered, collected, and catalogued by archaeologists and archaeology students from Bard College, who work in partnership with the Historic Parsonage in Germantown, an active archaeology site.
Everything we do at Quittner is rooted in the past, so when we decided to do a tableware collection the conversations we've been having for years about these Palatine families reemerged. What if, we asked ourselves, we translated some of those fragments into tableware that is grounded in history but comfortable in the present? And so we did.
To develop the Palatine Collection we visited the source material and consulted with leading experts, but also didn't let ourselves get bogged down in staying 'true' to any particular form. This is reinterpretation, not reproduction.
Once we had the general shapes figured out, Aleah, an Associate Designer on our team and our manufacturing partner for ceramics, threw versions of each of the four pieces — plate, coupe, bowl, and cup, on the wheel until the forms emerged.
Those forms were turned into molds, and the each Palatine Collection piece is hand-cast in porcelain from those molds.
For colors, we wanted to stay in the realm of neutral, while embracing saturation. Buttermilk is actually a clear glaze over the porcelain, but with a buttery soft finish. Smoke evokes the moment after a candle is blown out, and Mugwort is a saturated green that conjures images of vintage camping enamelware and the dark undersides of mugwort leaves.
Each Palatine Collection piece is heirloom-quality and designed to last a lifetime. We use it in our home, and we hope you will welcome it into yours.