Southern Stoneware Masterpiece. Exceedingly Rare and Important Seven-Gallon Stoneware Jar with Impressed and Cobalt-Highlighted Horse Motifs and Elaborate Brushed Floral Decoration, Stamped "S. BELL," Samuel Bell, Winchester, VA, circa 1840.
Considered to be the masterpiece of Shenandoah Valley potter, Samuel Bell, this outstanding jar features four horse designs in cantering and standing poses around the body of the jar. It stands as the only example of figural-decorated stoneware known to have been produced by Samuel Bell. In a broader context, decoration of this type and quality from the entire state of Virginia is considered extremely rare. The visual appeal of the horse designs is compounded by the jar's grand size, measuring seven gallons, the largest known capacity of a vessel from this potter's Winchester period of production. The method of decoration, involving an impressed template to form the horses' bodies, is a highly unusual treatment in American stoneware in general. The use of alternating images of a standing and moving horse is reminiscent of early efforts in the motion picture industry, imbuing a sense of motion and vitality to the jar. This iconic work is irrefutably the finest example of Virginia stoneware to come to auction in decades, and the most important piece of Bell family pottery to come to auction since this jar sold in 1978. Height 16". Provenance: Sotheby's Parke-Bernet Galleries, Feb. 1-3, 1978, lot #16; William E. Wiltshire, III Collection. Exhibitions: Williamsburg, Virginia, The Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Collection, May 25 - October 4, 1975. Literature: Illustrated and discussed in Wiltshire, Folk Pottery of the Shenandoah Valley, New York, 1975, p. 52, pl. 17.
Outstanding Norton Discovery. Exceptional Three-Gallon Stoneware Water Cooler with Elaborate Cobalt-Decorated Scene Including Three Houses, a Reclining Stag, and Pheasant-on-Stump, Stamped "J. & E. NORTON / BENNINGTON, VT.," circa 1855. A wonderfully-decorated example featuring three of the Nortons iconic stoneware designs. The addition of a slip-trailed sky and profuse cobalt application around the bung hole are unusual treatments. Provenance: Recently found in a basement in Connecticut.
Very Rare Pair of Lead-Glazed Redware Squirrel Bottles, attributed to Rudolph Christ, Salem, NC, circa 1804-1829. The first pair of this iconic Southern form we have seen come to auction. Provenance: Recently discovered in a Florida home. Height (of each) approx. 7 3/8".
Rare Stoneware Batter Pail with Cobalt Hollow-Centered Grapes Decoration, Stamped "COWDEN & WILCOX / HARRISBURG, PA," circa 1865.
Outstanding Five-Gallon Stoneware Jar with Large-Sized Incised Decoration of an Owl and Two Birds with a Banner, attributed to Brayton & Kellogg, Utica, NY, circa 1827-1833. Height 15".
Exceedingly Rare Diminutive Stoneware Oyster Jar with Cobalt-Highlighted Advertising, "D.J. & Co. No. 24 / LUMBER STREET / N. YORK," Thomas Commeraw, Manhattan, NY, early 19th century. Made for African-American oysterman, Daniel Johnson, this jar is the only Commeraw oyster jar we have seen with applied cobalt in the impressed advertising. Provenance: A fresh-to-the-market example, purchased years ago in the Northeastern U.S. Height 5 3/8".
Historically Significant Snake Flask. Extremely Rare Albany-Slip-Glazed Stoneware Snake Flask, Incised "Harper's $500.00 / Little Brown Jug / 1883" and Signed and Dated on Underside "Anna Pottery / 1884," Wallace and Cornwall Kirkpatrick, Anna, IL. This fine example, of unusual large size and pinched flask form, references Illinois's Harper's High License Law of 1883. Inspired by the high license temperance movement, Harper's Law placed a minimum annual license fee of $500 for the sale of liquors, thereby drastically reducing the presence of saloons and other liquor establishments in Illinois. Height 8 3/4". Provenance: A fresh-to-the-market example, purchased by the consignor over thirty years ago. Found in the early 20th century on an Indian Reservation in Wewoka, OK. Literature: Reportedly illustrated and discussed in an early issue of Antiques Magazine.
Outstanding Sgraffito Jar. Exceedingly Rare and Important Slip-Decorated Redware Jar with Profuse Sgraffito Star, Tulip, and Heart Decorations, Dated 1820, attributed to Solomon Grimm, Rockland Township, Berks County, PA, 1820. This boldly-decorated example features stars with floral interiors and flame-like borders, flank by tulips emanating from a heart. For a similar example, see Pook & Pook, Collection of Lester and Barbara Breininger, Nov. 11, 2011, Lot #127. Provenance: A fresh-to-the-market example, from a forty-year Mid-Atlantic antiques collection. H 7".
Important Southern Pottery Discovery. Exceedingly Rare Glazed Redware Mug with Profuse Three-Color Slip Decoration, Alamance County, North Carolina origin, late 18th or early 19th century. Coated in a reddish slip wash and profusely-decorated with tulip plants flanked by distinctive stripes and spots, this mug is one of a very few Alamance County mugs from this period known. H 6".
Exceptional Shenandoah Valley Multi-Glazed Redware Shaving Mug, attributed to J. Eberly & Co., Strasburg, VA, circa 1890. Outstanding color and remarkable condition. Provenance: A fresh-to-the-market example, purchased decades ago in the Mid-Atlantic region. H 4 1/2".
Rare Eight-Gallon Stoneware Jar with Profuse Stenciled Floral Decoration, Stenciled "JAMES HAMILTON / & CO. / GREENSBORO / PA," circa 1875. Provenance: A fresh-to-the-market example from a forty-year Mid-Atlantic collection.
Outstanding Four-Gallon Stoneware Jug with Cobalt Double Pheasant Decoration, Stamped "J. & E. NORTON / BENNINGTON, VT.," circa 1855. Rare large size and desirable Norton design. Provenance: A fresh-to-the-market example, which descended in the consignor's family.
Important Early Teapot. Exceedingly Rare Cobalt-Decorated Stoneware Teapot with Impressed Bird Decoration and Coggled Design, attributed to Thomas Warne and Joshua Letts, South Amboy, NJ, early 19th century. This outstanding, recently-discovered example features the distinctive impressed bird design found on signed Warne & Letts jars. It is the only teapot from South Amboy, New Jersey we are aware of. One of the rarest and most coveted stoneware forms known. For 18th century examples of this form, see Salt-Glazed Stoneware in Early America by Janine E. Skerry and Suzanne Findlen Hood. Provenance: Purchased by the consignor at an Eastern Pennsylvania antiques show approximately forty years ago. H 8 1/2".
Rare Two-Gallon Stoneware Cream Jar with Large Cobalt Bird Decoration, Stamped "J.B. PFALTZGRAFF & CO. / YORK, PA," circa 1875. From a selection of Pfaltzgraff stoneware to be sold in our October auction, deaccessioned from the Pfalzgraff Company Archives.
Important Moravian Discovery. Outstanding Green-Glazed Redware Fish Bottle, Salem, NC origin, circa 1804-29. This fish bottle was dipped in a heavy green slip composed of copper oxide and kaolin, then coated in a clear lead glaze. It includes a possibly-unique orange-accented eye, created by applying an orange slip or scraping away some of the green slip prior to applying the clear lead glaze. Another rare feature is the bottle's flattened base, a post-molding alteration, which allows the fish to sit on its stomach. Provenance: A recently-discovered example from a Northeastern U.S. antiques collection assembled during the mid 20th century. L 7 3/8".
Exceptional Shenandoah Valley Multi-Glazed Redware Pitcher and Washbowl Set, attributed to J. Eberly & Co., Strasburg, VA, circa 1890. This set is possibly the finest-glazed example of this popular Shenandoah Valley form known, with profuse amounts of copper decoration covering the pitcher. Provenance: A fresh-to-the-market example, purchased by the consignor decades ago. Literature: Southern Folk Art, Edited by Cynthia Elyce Rubin, Published by Oxmoor House, Inc., 1985. Bowl pictured in large color photo on p. 29; Pitcher pictured in large color photo on p. 30.
Alkaline-Glazed Southern Stoneware Double Face Jug, Signed "Lanier Meaders," Cleveland, GA, 20th century. Provenance: A fresh-to-the-market example, recently found in Massachusetts. H 9 1/4".
Exceptional Civil War Jug. Exceedingly Rare and Important Two-Gallon Stoneware Jug with Civil War Soldier's Bust, Stamped "COWDEN & WILCOX / HARRISBURG, PA," circa 1865. One of the finest examples of COWDEN & WILCOX stoneware known, and arguably the finest example of stoneware from the State of Pennsylvania to come to auction in years.
Fine One-Gallon Stoneware Batter Pail with Elaborate Cobalt Floral Decoration, Stamped "COWDEN & WILCOX / HARRISBURG, PA," circa 1865.
Western PA Stenciling at its Best. Three-Gallon Stoneware Jug with Elaborate Stenciled Cobalt Tavern Scene, Stenciled "From / James Hamilton & Co. / Greensboro, Pa.," circa 1875. This iconic design, one of a few examples known, features three men drinking around a table, the left figure falling back in his chair with a glass and bottle in his hands, the central figure sitting upright with a glass and bottle, and the right figure with distinctive cap and arm draped over the chair's back. This ambitious and painstakingly-produced stencil was likely difficult to apply accurately, and, due to its fineness, may have broken shortly after its creation, leading to a very limited production. Rarely is such liveliness achieved in American stoneware stenciled motifs. Provenance: Recently discovered in Texas.
Extremely Rare Two-Gallon Stoneware Jug with Profuse Cobalt Grapes Decoration, Stamped "M. & T. MILLER / NEWPORT, PA," circa 1870. While others may exist, this jug is the only example of signed M. & T. Miller stoneware with grapes decoration we have seen. Literature: Phil Schaltenbrand, BIG WARE TURNERS, p. 85.
Very Rare One-and-a-Half-Gallon Stoneware Jar with Cobalt Turtle Decoration, Stamped "D. Ack / Mooresburg, Pa," circa 1875. Literature: Pictured in Phil Schaltenbrand, BIG WARE TURNERS, p. 64.
Very Rare Rockingham-Glazed Anna Pottery Pig Bottle with Incised Railroad Map, Inscribed "from / Sanford Wells & Co. / N 214 N. Main St / St Louis Mo" and "with a little Fine old Bourbon in a," Wallace and Cornwall Kirkpatrick, Anna, IL, circa 1880. L 7 1/4".
Click images to enlarge.