Unusual Anna Pottery Stoneware Pig Flask, "Fossils From Shotwell's Coal mines" (Dekoven, Kentucky)

July 21, 2018 Stoneware Auction

Lot #: 76

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Auction Highlight:  July 21, 2018 Auction | Anna Pottery

July 21, 2018 Auction Catalog

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Extremely Rare Anna Pottery Stoneware Pig Flask with Kentucky Advertising, Inscribed "Fossils From Shotwell's Coal mines," attributed to Wallace and Cornwall Kirkpatrick, Anna, IL, circa 1870, molded in the form of a reclining pig with hole in rear, anatomically-correct underside, finely-carved eyes and muzzle, and salt-glazed surface, one side featuring the incised and cobalt-highlighted inscription, "Fossils / From / Shotwell's Coal Mines". Eyes with unusual cobalt slip pupils and eyebrows. This pig bottle was made to advertise Shotwell's Coal Mines, located in Caseyville, Union County, KY. This establishment was owned and operated by Percival Gates Kelsey (1841-1921), who served during the Civil War in the 26th and 142nd Indiana Volunteer Infantries from 1861 to 1862. Kelsey found difficulty navigating the wet roads from his mines to shipping ports along the Ohio River in Uniontown and Henderson, inspiring him to create and operate the Ohio Valley Railroad in 1882. This pig, created from an early-period Kirkpatrick mold, dates earlier, circa 1870. The interesting inscription, "Fossils / From / Shotwell's Coal mines" references the frequent unearthing of fossils in coal mines. Whether the slogan actually advertises the sale of fossils found in Shotwell's Coal Mines is unclear, and it is more than likely another tongue-in-cheek comment from the Kirkpatricks. However, by the early 1870s, fossil collecting increased dramatically in America, spurred in part by the "Bone Wars" of rival paleontologists, Othniel Charles Marsh (1831-1899) and Edward Drinker Cope (1840-1897). This recently-surfaced flask is the only example of its kind that we have seen, featuring intriguing advertising from a Southern state not often represented in the Kirkpatricks' production. This object carries broad-based appeal in a number of collecting categories, including American and Southern Stoneware, Kentucky Decorative Arts, Folk Art, American Mining History, and Natural History. Provenance: A fresh-to-the-market example, which recently surfaced in Oregon. A small chip to lower lip, which leads to an original small opening in the mouth, created when the mouth was incised prior to firing. Some shallow chipping to hole in rear. An in-the-firing loss to end of one ear and a small chip to end of opposite ear. A minor nick to one rear haunch, which appears to have occurred in the firing. L 7 1/2".


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