Important "Look this Way for Henry Clay" Baltimore Redware Jug w/ Incised Bird

November 3, 2018 Stoneware Auction

Lot #: 196

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November 3, 2018 Auction Catalog

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Probably Unique Glazed Redware Political Jug with Incised Bird Decoration, Inscribed "look this way for henry clay", probably Baltimore, MD origin, circa 1844, highly-ovoid jug with footed base and stepped spout, the front incised with a large design of a crested bird with long tail, perched on a looping, flowering vine. A speech bubble emanating from the bird's mouth is incised with the inscription, "look this way for henry clay". Profuse incised detail to bird's body and interior of largest flower. Surface covered in a reddish-brown lead-and-manganese glaze. Relatively few redware jugs with incised figural decorations are known. This example, with large speech bubble emanating from the bird's mouth, was made in support of the U.S. Representative and Senator from Kentucky, Henry Clay (1777-1852), most likely during his bid for President of the United States in 1844. That year, Clay won the Whig Party nomination for President, but lost to Democrat, James K. Polk, partly on his views against the ratification of Texas. The jug's discovery in Baltimore city, coupled with the fact that the Whig National Convention was held in Baltimore in 1844, strongly suggest this jug was made in Baltimore at that time. Redware articles with this glaze treatment and color have been excavated in this city. A historically-important object referencing the highly-influential American statesman, known as "The Great Compromiser". Provenance: A recently-surfaced example, purchased years ago at a Baltimore area flea market. Missing handle. Wear to spout. A 7/8" spout chip. A thin crack on underside, which extends onto base of jug on right side, forming a spider crack that extends to the right of and below the incised decoration, not extending into it and remaining on the jug's bottom half. Some additional light surface wear. H 10 1/2".

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(Our next auction takes place March 2019.)

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