Samuel Birch published this two-volume, highly illustrated work on ancient pottery in 1858. It covers the composition and techniques of the pottery of ancient Egypt and Assyria, and then moves on to the ceramics of Greece and Rome, with a final section in Volume 2 on 'Celtic, Teutonic, and Scandinavian pottery'.
The Egyptologist Samuel Birch (1813-85) began to study Chinese at school, and obtained his first post at the British Museum cataloguing Chinese coins. He maintained his interest in Chinese civilisation throughout his life, but also collaborated with C. T. Newton on a catalogue of Greek and Etruscan vases, and with Sir Henry Rawlinson on cuneiform inscriptions, while also specialising in the examination and cataloguing of the Museum's growing collection of Egyptian papyri and other artefacts. Birch describes this two-volume, highly illustrated work on ancient pottery, published in 1858, as filling a perceived need: 'A work has long been required which should embody the general history of the fictile art of the ancients.' It covers the composition and techniques of the pottery of ancient Egypt and Assyria, and then moves on to the ceramics of Greece and Rome, with a short final section in Volume 2 on 'Celtic, Teutonic, and Scandinavian pottery'.
Volume 1: Preface; Introduction; Part I. Egyptian and Oriental Pottery: 1. Antiquity of the art; 2. Glazed ware; 3. Assyrian pottery; Part II. Greek Pottery: 1. Etymology; 2. Greek vases; 3. Glazed vases; 4. Glazed vases (cont.); 5. Glazed vases (cont.); 6. Glazed vases (cont.). Volume 2: Part II. Greek Pottery (cont.): 7. Glazed vases (cont.); 8. Ancient potters; 9. Uses of vases; 10. Sites of ancient potteries; Part III. Etruscan Pottery: 1. Etruscan terra-cottas; Part IV. Roman Pottery: 1. Bricks; 2. Statues; 3. Vases; 4. Division of Roman pottery; 5. Glazed Roman pottery; Part V. Celtic, Teutonic, and Scandinavian Pottery: 1. Celtic pottery; Appendix; Index.
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