Our Summer 2017 auction—to be held Saturday, July 22, at our historic gallery in Sparks, Maryland—will be a special event in the history of our auction business. The depth of quality represented in this sale rivals all auctions we have ever held, and included in its over 600 lots will be a number of important pieces from several key regions of manufacture—worthy of the most discriminating public and private American ceramics collections.
Headlining this auction is an outstanding sgraffito-decorated redware plate with bird-in-flowering-urn motif, with rare inscription by the Montgomery County, PA master, Samuel Troxel, dated January 25, 1833. This work, which shares the same date as an iconic Troxel plate in the collection of the Philadelphia of Museum of Art, survives in rarely-found fine condition, and is considered one of the greatest Pennsylvania redware objects to come to auction in the past several years.
Also of importance is an exceptional selection of Southern pottery, led by five stoneware face vessels. Four of these are 19th century products of South Carolina’s Edgefield District, each possessing their own distinctive character and decorative merits. Lot 111, a harvest or monkey jug, will be sold with a rare 1882 stereopticon image of an African-American boy, sitting at a table with a jug by the same maker. Based on the jug’s form, presence, and its historical association with a famous Southern photograph, it may easily be regarded as one of the finest Edgefield face vessels to come to auction in the past decade or more. (Lots 112, 113 and 114 are the remaining three rare Edgefield face vessels.) The fifth piece of this group is a monumental devil face jug with North Carolina store advertising, marked by Davis P. Brown of Arden, NC, circa 1941 (Lot 126). Including a detailed provenance, as well as a noteworthy publication and exhibition history, this work is considered to be one of the most recognizable American face vessels ever produced and one of the greatest of 20th century manufacture.
Representing the Northeastern U.S. are a number of exceptional figural-decorated stoneware pieces, including a five-gallon New York State cream jar with parrot-clutching-cherries motif, impressed “HARRINGTON & BURGER / ROCHESTER” (Lot 40) and a three-gallon jug with man’s profile, marked by potter Frederick H. Cowden of Harrisburg, PA (Lot 50). In addition to these two fantastic examples, this auction features several other pieces of northeastern U.S. stoneware with elaborate designs: a crock with an outstanding chicken scene, made by J. & E. Norton in Bennington, Vermont; two nice deer crocks, one made by the Nortons in Bennington and bearing impressed advertising for a Glens Falls, NY merchant, the other by Hubbell & Chesebro of Geddes, New York; an attributed Fort Edward, NY four-gallon jug with a very elaborate pheasant decoration; an M. WOODRUFF, / CORTLAND, New York, jar with a folky house scene.
Headlining many lots of important, early northeastern U.S. stoneware is a turn-of-the-19th-century jug with incised bird motif, stamped “DAVID MORGAN / NEW YORK”, believed to be one of two signed Manhattan pieces decorated in this manner to have survived (Lot 62). Alongside this remarkable example of early Manhattan stoneware is an extremely rare early-period Thomas Commeraw pitcher (impressed “N. YORK / COERLEARS HOOK”), bearing a freehand incised design (Lot 63). For those interested in 18th and early 19th century American stoneware, this sale provides extreme depth in this category, including a very fine circa 1790 elaborately-incised Manhattan stoneware jar; a heavily-decorated 18th century product of the Kemple family in Ringoes, New Jersey; a pre-Revolutionary miniature Manhattan jug; an attributed Clarkson Crolius jug with elaborate incised and impressed design; a very rare half-gallon Thomas Commeraw jug; an important 1797 jar made at Pot Baker’s Hill in lower Manhattan (inscribed “P.B.H.,” this is the only known example referencing what was the most important center of stoneware production in the United States.)
Other highlights include: Over fifty lots of early Northeastern U.S. stoneware with incised and impressed decorations, including pieces from Manhattan, Albany, Connecticut, and New Jersey. 19th century Southern pottery, including slip-decorated pieces from the Edgefield District of SC; a Salem, NC green-glazed redware fish flask; a Bethabara or Salem, NC redware bowl with two-color slip decoration; a six-gallon Baltimore stoneware jar with profuse cobalt flower basket decoration; a ten-gallon Lincoln County, NC jar, stamped “JCM”; and an extremely rare Virginia stoneware presentation pitcher with incised bird decoration in the Remmey style. Pennsylvania redware from a sixty-year private collection, including an exceptional sugar bowl with applied decoration, attributed to John Nice, Montgomery County, PA; a slip-decorated sugar bowl, attributed to John Leman, Montgomery County, PA; and a diminutive sgraffito-decorated plate with tulip and compass motifs. Fine Western PA and WV stoneware with stenciled and freehand decoration. Pieces from the Dr. Raymond L. Owen Collection, including a pair of John Bell, Waynesboro, PA redware spaniels, scarce stoneware miniatures, and a large selection of Crawford County, GA stoneware. 20th century Southern stoneware face jugs and figurals by Arie Meaders, Lanier Meaders, the Brown family, and B.B. Craig.
We would like to thank all of our consignors for their contribution to this special event. Numerous pieces in this auction have comparable works in the nation’s leading institutions, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Winterthur, the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, the Smithsonian Institution, the New York State Museum, the Art Institute of Chicago, and the Barnes Foundation. July’s auction will present one of the best opportunities in decades to acquire a museum-quality example of American utilitarian pottery. And while this particular auction may make such pieces seem almost commonplace, we can assure you, they are not.
You can browse all 600+ lots of our auction here. Thank you for your interest in our Summer 2017 Auction of American Stoneware & Redware Pottery, and we look forward to seeing and speaking with you over the next couple of weeks.
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