Exceptional Stoneware Face Jug, probably Barrow County, GA, circa 1880

October 17, 2015 Stoneware Auction

Lot #: 220

Price Realized: $9,775.00
($8,500 hammer, plus 15% buyer's premium).

October 17, 2015 Auction Catalog

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Outstanding Salt-Glazed Stoneware Face Harvest Jug with Albany Slip Decoration, probably Barrow County, GA, circa 1880-1900, wheel-thrown jug with flared base, sculpted in the form of a human head with applied spout to reverse. The face includes a well-executed chin and jaw line, applied ears, mouth, and nose, and modeled eyes within recessed sockets. Depressed areas at the figure's temples accentuate the cheek bones and impart a sense of realism to the sculpture. Heavily-combed incising forms the figure's hair, while shorter strokes create the mustache and eyebrows. The surface is decorated with Albany slip highlights to the hair, eyes, eyebrows, and mustache, while a subtle sheen visible to the remainder of the jug suggests the piece may be very lightly salt-glazed. Aspects of the form, facial structure, and glaze treatment, indicate this face jug was made by a member of the Ferguson family, most likely Charles P. Ferguson (1851-1917), in Barrow County or Gillsville, Banks and Hall Counties, Georgia. The founding father of the Barrow County style was Ferguson's grandfather, Charles H. Ferguson, who was previously employed at Dr. Abner Landrum's Pottersville stoneware manufactory in the Edgefield District of South Carolina, circa 1815-1825. Charles H. Ferguson described Landrum as a "good friend" in an undated mortgage document, and additional documents reference Ferguson's association with other potters who had worked with Landrum (Burrison, Brothers in Clay, p. 215). It is possible that face jug production in Barrow County may have been inspired by connections between the Ferguson and Landrum families, or possibly by the work of the many other Edgefield-trained potters who would later settle in Georgia. Current scholarship states that Charles P. Ferguson was the first producer of face jugs in the state of Georgia. He began his career in Barrow County and later worked in the major pottery center of Gillsville, located thirty miles north. While the majority of Ferguson's work is attributed to his Gillsville period, the overall appearance and refinement of this example suggest it may be an earlier Barrow County product, made by Ferguson or possibly another family member. The jug's history of use within a Winder, Barrow County family supports this hypothesis. Georgia stoneware face vessels from this time period are considered rare artifacts, which would give rise to a booming industry during the second half of the 20th century. This recently-surface example ranks as one of the finest of the genre to come to auction in years. Provenance: A fresh-to-the-market example, which descended in a Winder, GA family to its current owner. The consignor's great uncle used this piece as his personal whiskey jug until he died in 1962. Missing handle. A chip along the edge of the left nostril. Shallow chipping along edges of ears. Two small base chips. H 6 1/2" ; Diameter (across base) 5".


Exceptional Stoneware Face Jug, probably Barrow County, GA, circa 1880Exceptional Stoneware Face Jug, probably Barrow County, GA, circa 1880Exceptional Stoneware Face Jug, probably Barrow County, GA, circa 1880Exceptional Stoneware Face Jug, probably Barrow County, GA, circa 1880Exceptional Stoneware Face Jug, probably Barrow County, GA, circa 1880Exceptional Stoneware Face Jug, probably Barrow County, GA, circa 1880Exceptional Stoneware Face Jug, probably Barrow County, GA, circa 1880Exceptional Stoneware Face Jug, probably Barrow County, GA, circa 1880

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Bidding is now closed.
(Our next auction takes place March 24, 2018.)

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