Arequipa Pottery was an early twentieth century Arts and Crafts pottery manufacturer whose pottery is currently valued at anything from a few hundred dollars to several thousand dollars. It was based out of a sanatorium for women suffering from the early stages of tuberculosis. The sanatorium used pottery as a therapeutic handicraft which could also generate revenue and combat idleness as the women struggled to recover from their illness.
The production of Arequipa pottery was overseen by several well-known ceramic artists, including Frederick Hurten Rhead, Albert Solon and Fred Wilde. Each of these men introduced their own elements of style to the female artisans. The most lasting of these styles was slip-trailing decorations from Rhead, which typically took the form of stylized ivy leaves and vines.
Most of the pieces were marked when they were finished, usually with a variation of a graphic involving a tree and/or a vase, and the words “Arequipa California.” Here are some of the variations you can find of that marking style:
The simplest Arequipa Pottery marking is the initials A and P. These are usually crossed, with the curve of the P adjoined to the crossbar of the A.
A more complicated marking is the circular mark. This features two circles, one inside the other, which create a ring-like shape. In the outer ring the words “Arequipa” and “California” are featured. The inner circle features a graphic of a tree and a pottery vase in grass.
This mark has a variation that can be found without the circles being drawn. This marking style opts for dots to separate the words, which are still written in a ring-like shape.
Paper labels from Arequipa Pottery still exist on some pieces. These labels show a detailed tree over a decorated pottery vase and are bisected with a diagonal banner which announces “Arequipa California.” These labels are rare to find because of their fragile nature, but they do not add any value to the piece.
This marking shows three vases with handles in a single row. Above the vases is the word “Arequipa,” and below is “California.”
A few known pieces exist without any noticeable marking present. These pieces are more difficult to authenticate.
If you believe you may have an Arequipa Pottery piece, it could be worth upwards of $1,000. Seek out a professional appraisement from an appraiser that specializes in ceramics and pottery.