Important and Possibly Unique Two-Piece Redware Presentation Flowerpot with Applied Decoration, Stamped "JOHN BELL / WAYNESBORO," Dated March 14, 1874, ovoid flowerpot with rounded rim, decorated with highly unusual molded design of grape clusters and hands grasping rings. Flowerpot rests on a separate flared pedestal base, steadied by a flange tooled into the bottom of the flowerpot prior to firing. Incised on underside of flowerpot "M.E. Bell / March 14 1874". Incised on underside of base "March the 14 1874 / Myrtle E. Bell by C.F. Bell," and stamped "JOHN BELL / WAYNESBORO". Surface with original white and red paint. Charles Frederick Bell (1840-1899), the son of John Bell, made this flowerpot for his niece, Myrtle E. Bell (1869-1935) when she was just five years old. Myrtle was the daughter of potter, Victor Conrad Bell, who spent much of his career as a decorator at his father's shop in Waynesboro. An amazing aspect of this flowerpot is that the fragile piece survived so many years, despite being given to a young child. It is only the second example of pottery we are aware of that was made for Myrtle Bell, the other being a glazed redware horse, incised "Jim made for Myrtle," which sold in the Heilman Collection at Sotheby's in the early 1980s. Myrtle Bell (later Myrtle Deardorff) would eventually come to own the contents of the Bell Pottery, and a large sale was held in 1935 of these goods, which included several rare figural examples. This flowerpot is likely one of the finest Bell flowerpots known, as well as one of the most historically-significant to this family of potters to have surfaced in years. Provenance: Descended directly in the Bell family to its current owner, a Maine resident. Flaking to paint. Otherwise excellent condition. H 6 1/2".
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