Sarah Orne Jewett House

Ceramics in Guest Room

To make ends meet, Celia Thaxter painted ceramics with images of birds and flowers. The sale of painted ceramics was not uncommon for women of the day, but Celia Thaxter’s work shows a remarkable lucidity and delicacy. To support her mother, when she was alive, and her sons, Thaxter could make more from the painting than her poetry brought in.

Her 1888 vase depicting naturalistic olive branches and a Greek inscription from Sophocles’ Oedipus at Colonus is on display at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.