Very Rare Stoneware Face Jug, att. Miles Mill Pottery, Edgefield District, SC

October 22, 2016 Stoneware Auction

Lot #: 443

Price Realized: $13,800.00
($12,000 hammer, plus 15% buyer's premium).

October 22, 2016 Auction Catalog

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Rare Alkaline-Glazed Stoneware Face Jug with Glazed Kaolin Eyes and Teeth, Miles Mill Pottery, Edgefield District, South Carolina origin, circa 1870, ovoid jug with distinctive flared spout and applied handle, decorated with a hand-modeled and applied clay face. Face includes bulging eyes and bared teeth composed of kaolin, a Roman nose, wavy eyebrow molding, and C-scroll ears. Entire surface covered in a dark-brown alkaline glaze. While many Edgefield face vessels omit the glaze on the eyes and teeth, resulting in a matte white appearance, this example includes glazing to both features, which assume a light-olive color against the darker body of the jug. Also of note is the face's well-sculpted nose, which includes pinched nostrils and recessed depressions on the underside. This recent discovery was likely made early in the output of face vessels at Miles Mill, sharing similarities and some slight differences with the majority of Miles Mill face jugs known. The spout, while closely-related to those found on Miles Mill examples, lacks the flattened molding distinctive to Miles Mill pieces. In addition, the jug's more-ovoid form and glazing to the eyes and teeth are traits uncommon to the majority of Miles Mils face vessels known. This jug, with its stylized features and "angered" or "surprised" demeanor, typifies the Edgefield style of face vessel production and exudes that certain expressiveness, which has captivated ceramics and folk art collectors alike. Literature: An example by the same hand or school of craftsmanship is pictured on p. 80 of Baldwin's Great and Noble Jar and resides in the collection of the Charleston Museum, Charleston, SC. Provenance: A fresh-to-the-market example, consigned from the same source as lot #209 in our October 17, 2015 auction and lot #354 in our March 19, 2016 auction. In-the-firing loss to lower lip and pieces of one or two teeth. Wear to one eye. An in-the-firing line to opposite eye. Two minor chips to one ear. Some traces of old yellowish paint to surface. A typical, minor in-the-firing contact mark to bottom edge. H 6".


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Bidding is now closed.
(Our next auction takes place July 21, 2018.)

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