Very Important "Dave" Stoneware Jug, Horse Creek Valley or Pottersville, Edgefield, SC, c1825-35

October 22, 2016 Stoneware Auction

Lot #: 441

Price Realized: $46,000.00
($40,000 hammer, plus 15% buyer's premium).

October 22, 2016 Auction Catalog

◀ Back to Catalog

Early Alkaline-Glazed Double-Handled Stoneware Jug, Incised "Dave" and Impressed "C"', Dave at the John or Abner Landrum Potteries, Horse Creek Valley or Pottersville, Edgefield District, SC, circa 1825-1835, highly-ovoid jug with double-collared spout and two applied handles, the shoulder incised with the large script signature, "Dave", and covered in a light, grayish-green alkaline glaze. Base of jug impressed with a C stamp, rotated on its end. This jug is significant in its maker, form, and period of manufacture. To begin with, the color of the glaze is consistent with Edgefield pieces produced circa 1820 to 1840, and is uncommon among later Dave products. The method of signature is additionally different than all documented, signed Dave pieces. All of Dave's signed works were made between 1840 and 1864 at Lewis Miles' Stony Bluff Manufactory, feature an incised date, and usually include an inscription indicating Miles' pottery as the site of manufacture. In the case of this jug, only the name appears at the shoulder, incised in large script. The style of the signature, which involves a scrolled end to the letter "D", can be related to the style of signature found of Dave's earliest signed and dated works, made in 1840 at the Stony Bluff Manufactory. This scrolled end is generally not seen on his work of the 1850s and 1860s, when his signature appeared hastier and less-refined. The lack of a date, or mention of the pottery at which the piece was produced, suggests this jug was made before Dave had established a pattern to his method of signature. This idea is further supported by the fact that the signature is covered in glaze, suggesting Dave was not yet familiar with producing deeply-scrawled, easily-legible inscriptions. A highly important feature of the jug is its impressed letter C at the base, which distinguishes it as the only known signed Dave vessel with an impressed letter stamp, a treatment found on the earliest-period Edgefield products. This revelation presents possible new insight into the incised "horseshoe" markings found on Dave's Stony Bluff products of later years. The impressed, rotated letter "C" at the jug's base suggests that the potter's so-called incised "horseshoe" marking, found on so many of his pieces, is actually a later iteration of a C stamp used earlier in his career. Dave probably chose to incise the C on subsequent pieces simply because he no longer had access to the stamp. Carl Steen's archaeological studies have determined that the C stamp was used to mark ware at the Reverend John Landrum Pottery in the Horse Creek Valley region of the Edgefield District, circa 1810 to 1846. While it has been documented that Dave was owned by John Landrum during the 1840s, the highly-unusual handle applications on this jug, which involve the handles terminating into the spout itself, suggest an even earlier period of manufacture. The jug's handle attachment, lesser-known in Edgefield stoneware production, is exhibited on an important jug bearing an incised 1821 date and alternately attributed to Reverend John Landrum's Pottery and the Pottersville Stoneware Manufactory of his brother, Abner, to whom Dave was employed earlier in his career. Our assessment is that this jug likely falls into a time period, circa 1825 to 1835, when Dave had begun inscribing pieces, but not with the regularity in time or style seen on his later Lewis Miles pieces. For example, jars bearing the single-word inscriptions, "Catination" and "Concatination", as well as a few poems, are known bearing 1830s dates, but lacking a Dave signature. The rarity and importance of this jug is compounded by its elusive double-handled jug form. Double-handled jugs remain one of the most prized utilitarian forms of the American South and only a few examples signed by Dave are known. Based on the stamp at its base, its glaze, and style of signature, this exciting, recently-surfaced work may be regarded as Dave's earliest signed vessel in existence. A finger or thumbprint in glaze on the underside was possibly created by this renowned potter's hand. Excellent condition with some minor chipping at base. H 14 1/2".


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

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