New Jersey on Display
“America’s Game” inspired Isaac Broome to create a New Jersey monument to ceramic art
The word “porcelain” conjures up images of delicate dishware and tiny tea sets. But New Jersey ceramic artist Isaac Broome liked to make big things out of porcelain. In 1873, the Trenton pottery firm Ott & Brewer hired Broome to create display pieces for the 1876 Centennial International Exposition in Philadelphia. Reproduced several times using his original mold, Broome’s multicolored bust of Cleopatra garnered much attention and even appeared in magazine accounts about Trenton potteries. Also exhibited at the Centennial, Broome’s monumental baseball vase captured the essence and spirit of a great American pastime still in its infancy. The vase is made of parian, an unglazed porcelain named for the marble that it resembles. It is considered to be a masterpiece of American ceramic art.
When he crafted the baseball vase, Broome probably knew little about the sport’s strong historical connection to the state of New Jersey. On June 19, 1846, the first officially-recorded game of baseball as we know it today took place at the Elysian Fields in Hoboken. New Jersey is where modern baseball was born.