Stoneware Decoration of Epic Proportions.
Extremely Rare and Important Four-Gallon Stoneware Jar with Large Cobalt Stampeding Elephant Decoration, Stamped "WEST TROY / N.Y. / POTTERY," circa 1875.
This jar features arguably the finest depiction of an elephant in American stoneware known, with a particularly large-sized design, which dominates the horizontal space of the jar's front. The decoration utilizes slip-trailed and brushed decorative techniques throughout, as well as negative space delineating the eye and ear of the animal. An exuberant, folk art quality is created with the heavy daubed and striped cobalt details throughout the elephant's body, the animal's boot-like feet, and the highly-stylized ground below. Coupled with the appealing subject matter and charming style of the design, is a wonderful sense of motion, conveyed with the creature's raised trunk and running stance. This decoration was likely inspired by the rise in popularity of the American circus during the latter half of the century, in which elephants such as Jumbo delighted large audiences. This recently-discovered jar survives in excellent overall condition and ranks as one of the most significant discoveries in New York State stoneware of the last decade or more. Provenance: A fresh-to-the-market example, recently found in New England. H 14 1/2".
Important Wedding Jar. Exceptional Diminutive Lidded Stoneware Presentation Jar with Two-Sided Incised Floral Decoration, Inscribed "Rachel Van Riper / November 10th, 1800", Manhattan, New York origin, 1800.
This extraordinary example of early incised stoneware ranks among the very best from the city of Manhattan to come to auction in many years. Its petite size is particularly rare for this time period, and few pieces bearing inscribed dates from this early era of production have survived.
This jar is dated one week before the jar's recipient, Rachel van Riper (1773-1853) of Belleville (outside Newark) New Jersey, married John Williams, according to a family genealogy. (Van Riper and Williams were married in Newark, Essex County, New Jersey, on November 17, 1800.)
Adding visual appeal and rarity to the jar is the inclusion of its original cobalt-decorated lid. While lidded jars from later time periods are known, pieces retaining their original covers from the early 19th century are extremely unusual.
While inconclusive, the distinctive penmanship on this jar may link it to the iconic incised Elizabeth Crane punchbowl and Henry Edoson incised bird flask, both of which are regarded as the pinnacle of American stoneware as an art form.
Provenance: Recent research into the jar's past indicates it was previously purchased in 1982 by the Stradlings at Christie's, New York for the then-impressive sum of $5,000. H (excluding lid) 6 1/4" ; H (including lid) 7".
Important Edgefield Discovery. Rare Alkaline-Glazed Stoneware Face Jug with Kaolin Eyes and Teeth, Edgefield, South Carolina origin, circa 1860. This outstanding example survives in strong condition, and features an unusual horizontal brow ridge and delicately-formed spout with narrow neck and pronounced molding.
An interesting aspect of this example is its eyes, which lack the typical incised pupils, and rattle freely inside their sockets. The Ceramics in America 2006 article, "Making Faces: Archaeological Evidence of African-American Face Jug Production" by Mark M. Newell and Peter Lenzo, discusses this phenomenon and how it may have been achieved:
After the vessel was thoroughly air-dried, preparation for glazing began with the application of wax to the eyes and teeth. This resist technique- the Edgefield potters probably used an application of beeswax- was employed to ensure that the eyes and teeth were left unglazed, and also might have allowed the teeth and eyes to move slightly. The intention, however, is unknown. There is some indication from Edgefield County sources that the effect may have been desirable- that is, the "best" face jugs had eyes that rolled and teeth that chattered. (Newell and Lenzo, Ceramics in America 2006).
Provenance: A fresh-to-the-market example, recently discovered in the Northeastern U.S. H 5".
Stoneware Bank of Southern Interest. Extremely Rare and Important Cobalt-Decorated Stoneware Bank, Inscribed "CONFEDERATE RELIEF BAZAR / BALTIMORE APRIL 7, 1885", Charles Hartung, Baltimore, MD, 1885.
Confederate Relief bazaars were held during the late 19th and early 20th centuries at the Fifth Regiment Armory in Baltimore to raise funds for poverty-stricken Confederate veterans. The 1901 bazaar was described as follows in the papers of the Southern Historical Society, an organization founded by Confederate Major General, Daubney Maury:
The Daughters of the Confederacy in Maryland held a popular and successful bazaar in the Fifth Regiment armory, Baltimore, December 2d to 11th ultimo, which yielded about $10,000 for the fund to erect a monument in Baltimore city to the Marylanders in the Confederate service. The monument will cost, perhaps, $25,000.
The heroism of the Maryland soldiers and sailors of the Confederate States is known and acknowledged by all intelligent and fair minded men and women in Maryland, as elsewhere. 'Young men and maidens, old men and children,' praise their valor and sacrifices for principle, and resound their deathless fame. All shades of religion and politics are represented by the contributors to the monument fund, even as when the two previous bazaars were held in the same place by the same noble women of Maryland in 1885 and 1893, to supply the means to provide for indigent and worthy Confederates in Maryland, who hail from all parts of the South, the proceeds of those two bazaars being collectively about $50,000.
A Southern bazaar was first held in Baltimore under the auspices of the ladies, in April, 1866, one year after the war, which yielded over $200,000, for the relief of suffering Southern people. Within a year thereafter the Legislature of Maryland appropriated $100,000 for like purpose. (Southern Historical Society Papers, Richmond, VA, Vol. XXIX, 1901).
The bank's maker, Charles Hartung, was born in 1844 in Bremen, Germany, and operated a stoneware manufactory at the corner of Frederick Road and Wilkens Street during the second half of the 19th century. An article in The Baltimore American (4/14/1885, p. 4, col. 3) states, "The pottery made expressly for the Bazar, with its stamp, by Charles Hartung, of the Frederick road, is all sold." Another article in The American (4/9/1885, p. 4, col.4-5) describes, "Almost every county in Maryland has sent some contribution to the state table. All the articles are selling well at a reasonable price. Just in the rear of the table is a manufactory of pottery, where jugs, vases, &c., are produced, with the stamp 'Confederate Relief Bazar' on the outside."
A scarce Baltimore stoneware form with exceptionally-rare, historical inscription related to the American South. This example is one of a very few American stoneware objects with an inscription referencing the Confederacy. H 8".
Important Albany Cooler. Three-Gallon Stoneware Keg-Form Cooler with Incised Fish Decoration and Profuse Cobalt Banding, Stamped "ATHERTON & TRICE. / ALBANY.", New York State origin, circa 1820-1826.
This rare cooler was produced under the firm of grocer, Stephen Atherton, and potter, James Trice. Their Washington Street shop was shared with potter brothers, Jonah and Calvin Boynton, for a number of years. Few examples of signed Atherton & Trice stoneware are known. The distinctive fish motif with curved body can be related to that found on the midsection of an iconic Paul Cushman churn, which is famously decorated with a cat churning butter and a fish suckling a cow. The Boynton brothers involvement at both the Cushman and Atherton & Trice operations suggests one of the two was the likely decorator of this cooler. This example is one of the finest works of Albany stoneware to come to auction in years, and is believed to be one of the finest Atheron & Trice pieces in existence. H 15".
Extremely Rare and Important One-Gallon Stoneware Jar with Cobalt X Decoration, Stamped "ALBANY WARE", William Capron, Albany, NY, circa 1800-1805.
Patriotic Pot. Very Rare One-Gallon Stoneware Jar with Cobalt Crossed Flags Decoration, Stamped "HARRISBURG, PA," William Moyer or Cowden & Wilcox, circa 1858-1865. Few pieces of Harrisburg stoneware are known with patriotic themes. This example may have been inspired by events related to the Civil War.
Important Cowden Presentation Set. Exceedingly Rare Miniature Stoneware Pitcher and Mug Set with Finely-Incised Floral Decoration, attributed to Frederick H. Cowden, Harrisburg, PA, 1862. Pitcher inscribed "Jennie Dull / Harrisburg / Pa". Mug inscribed "Jennie Dull / 1862 / May".
Incised stoneware produced in Harrisburg, PA is nearly non-existent. The recent emergence of a similarly-decorated and incised pepper pot bearing the inscribed signature of potter, Frederick H. Cowden, indicate this set was also made by him. Frederick Cowden, the son of potter, John Wallace Cowden, was active at his father's shop shortly before his enlistment in the Union Army during the Civil War. This exceedingly rare set, bearing the date 1862, was made during this brief period. Frederick Cowden would later assume ownership of his father's shop in 1872, using the well-known marks "F.H. COWDEN / HARRISBURG, PA" and "F.H. COWDEN / HARRISBURG" to sign his wares. H (of pitcher) 2 7/8" ; H (of mug) 2 7/8".
Outstanding Six-Gallon Stoneware Crock with Cobalt Bird and Floral Decorations, Stamped "HARRINGTON & BURGER / ROCHESTER," New York State origin, circa 1852-1854.
Exceptional Diminutive Stoneware Presentation Churn with Large Incised Bird, Inscribed "Mary," Ohio origin, circa 1840-1860. H 8 3/8".
Extremely Rare Half-Gallon Stoneware Jar with Incised Seated Dog Decoration, Stamped "G.S. GUY & CO. / FORT EDWARD, NY", circa 1882.
Outstanding and Very Rare Five-Gallon Stoneware Druggist's Jug with Cobalt Quail Decoration, Stamped "HAXSTUN, OTTMAN & CO. / FORT EDWARD, N.Y.," Inscribed "Tincture ARNICA", circa 1870.
The Arnica plant is a member of the sunflower family native to Europe and has been used for centuries as a healing remedy and pain reliever.
Extremely Rare Two-Gallon Stoneware Epitaph Crock with Cobalt Inscription "SOLD BUT NO STAMPS", Stamped "BROWN BROTHER / HUNTINGTON, L.I.," New York State origin, circa 1870-1885. Provenance: Donald Matties Collection. Literature: Illustrated on page 44, fig. 48 of USEFUL ART Long Island Pottery, Cynthia Aarps Corbett, Society for the Preservation of Long Island Antiquities, 1985.
Rare Slip-Decorated Redware Charger with Double Pinwheel Decoration, Huntington, Long Island, New York origin, circa 1807-1860. One of the finest examples of Huntington redware we have ever offered, surviving in remarkable condition. Provenance: Donald Matties Collection; Crocker Farm, Inc., 2012. Diameter 14".
Fine and Rare Miniature Glazed Redware Pitcher and Bowl Set, Stamped "JOHN BELL", WAYNESBORO, PA, circa 1840-1880. H (of pitcher) 4 3/4" ; H (of bowl) 2 3/8" ; Diameter (of bowl) 5 3/8".
Exceptional Connecticut Jug. Very Rare and Important Half-Gallon Stoneware Jug with Elaborate Cobalt Watchspring, Stylized Grape, and "Fish Scale" Decorations, attributed to Abraham Mead, Greenwich, CT, circa 1790. Mead stoneware remains some of the most coveted and rarest of all Connecticut stoneware products, and few pieces have come to market in the last several years. A small number of surviving Mead family pieces represent some of the earliest dated American stoneware objects known. This example, potted in a pleasing small size, survives in excellent condition. H 8 3/4".
Extremely Rare One-Gallon Stoneware Jug with Large Incised Flowering Plant Decoration, Stamped "T. WARNE. Co / SOUTH AMBOY", New Jersey origin, circa 1797-1805. One of a small number of extant stoneware pieces from South Amboy, New Jersey with freehand incising.
Very Rare Miniature Stoneware Pitcher with Cobalt Swag Decoration, attributed to David Parr, Jr., Richmond, VA, circa 1855. H 4 1/4".
Exceptional Western PA Cake Crock. One-and-a-Half-Gallon Stoneware Cake Crock with Cobalt Floral Decoration, Stamped "J. SWANK & CO. / JOHNSTOWN, PA" and Inscribed on Underside "Newton Swank / The Best Work Man in the Shop / 1877". Featuring the whimsical signature of potter, Newton Swank, this significant new discovery survives as one of the finest Swank cake crocks known. Provenance: Recently discovered in Colorado.
Extremely Rare Three-Gallon Stoneware Jar with Profuse Cobalt Floral Decoration, Stenciled "RICE & BROYLES / (?) MONUMENT / POTTERY / LINDSIDE, W. VA.," circa 1875.
Monumental Twenty-Gallon Stoneware Jar with Elaborate Freehand Cobalt Decoration, Stenciled "R.T. WILLIAMS / NEW GENEVA, PA," circa 1885.
Morgantown Miniature. Extremely Rare Miniature Stoneware Bowl with Cobalt Floral and Foliate Motifs, attributed to the Thompson Pottery, Morgantown, WV, circa 1875. Examples of this size from the Thompson Pottery, West Virginia's most revered stoneware operation, are considered highly unusual. H 2" ; Diameter 3 5/8".
Exquisite Temperance Jug. Very Rare Diminutive Stoneware Temperance Jug with Elaborate Applied Figural Decorations and Frog Stopper, Midwestern or South-Central U.S., Dated 1886.
This whimsically-decorated example is the smallest of its type we have handled. The applied decorations include a central molded bust of a top-hatted man, two striped and spotted lizards, a turtle, a snake coiled around the handle and ascending the jug's front, and a dung beetle. The inclusion of a fish at the base is most unusual, and is the first we have seen on an American temperance jug. The reverse includes a wonderful applied decoration of a man lying in a grave, the figure formed from the same mold as the bust on the jug's front. A tiny molded jug lies at his side, and the figure's head leans against a tombstone incised with a cross and inscribed "DIED 1886". The jug's original stopper, a remarkable survivor, features a seated frog with elaborate incised detail throughout. Provenance: Recently discovered in Florida. H (excluding stopper) 7 1/8" ; H (including stopper) 8 1/4".
Impressive Inkwell. Outstanding and Very Rare Large-Sized Master Inkwell with Profuse Slip-Trailed Cobalt Decoration, attributed to Jacob B. Caire, Poughkeepsie, NY, circa 1840. A true master of the inkwell form in both size and decoration. Arguably the finest American stoneware inkwell to come to auction in years. H 2 5/8" ; Diameter 7 3/4".
Exceptional Redware Pedestal-Based Urn with Applied Flowering Urn Motifs and Grape-Cluster Handles, Stamped Twice "JOHN BELL / WAYNESBORO" and Once "JOHN BELL", Inscribed "V.C. Bell / 1874", Pennsylvania origin, 1874. This skillfully thrown and decorated example was made or decorated by John Bell's son, Victor Conrad Bell. H 9 1/2".
Outstanding Two-Gallon Stoneware Epitaph Crock with Cobalt Stars Decoration, Inscribed "HOLD YOUR TONGUE", Stamped "BROWN BROTHER. / HUNTINGTON, L.I.," circa 1870-1885. Provenance: Purchased at a Huntington area auction in the 1970s.
Outstanding West Virginia Presentation Piece. Miniature Stoneware Pitcher with Cobalt Fuchsia Decoration and Spoted Handle, Incised "Clara Herdman / 1877" and "Compliments W.D.", Walter Donaghho, Parkersburg, WV.
This delicately-thrown piece was made by Walter Donaghho, son of renowned Fredericktown, PA and Parkersburg, WV potter, Alexander P. Donaghho. Walter was born circa 1860 and is listed in the 1870 Parkersburg, WV census as an eleven-year-old boy living with his father. The same census lists "Clara Herdman," age nine, living a very short distance from the Donaghho family. Clara, whose father, Thomas, was a farm hand, would have been about sixteen years old in 1877, about the same age as Walter, who was seventeen at the time. By 1880, the Herdmans had apparently left Parkersburg, and Walter Donaghho, twenty, was listed as a "Professor of Penmanship." This small pitcher was presumably given as a token of affection from seventeen-year-old Walter to his lady friend. H 3 1/8".
Boston Beauty. Exceptional Large-Sized Stoneware Jug with Impressed and Cobalt-Highlighted Fish Decorations, Stamped "BOSTON," Jonathan Fenton, Boston, MA, late 18th century. Featuring an elegant early form, this jug featuring two variants of Fenton's iconic fish design in opposing directions. H 17 3/4".
Very Rare Glazed Redware Jar with Bold Yellow Slip Foliate Decoration, New England origin, possibly Captain John Norton, Bennington, VT, late 18th or early 19th century. Surviving in remarkable condition, this wonderfully-decorated jar shares similarities to an iconic redware jug with slip foliate decoration, which descended in the Norton family of potters. H 9 1/2".
Important Manhattan Jar. Exceedingly Rare Three-Gallon Stoneware Jar with Elaborate Incised Floral Decoration, Stamped "DAVID MORGAN," Coerlears Hook, Manhattan, NY, circa 1800.
This outstanding jar is one of a very few known examples of David Morgan stoneware with freehand incised decorations. The bold fan-shaped floral motif, which adorns both sides, is in the manner of the earliest signed pieces by Corlears Hook potter, Thomas Commeraw. H 15".
Important New Jersey Jar. Large-Sized Preserve Jar with Coggled Column Decoration, Stamped "MADE BY / XERXES PRICE / AT S AMBOY", Sayreville, NJ origin, circa 1805. This nicely-thrown jar with inset rim was likely designed to hold fruit or possibly oysters. While Xerxes Price is one of the most well-known and revered of all early New Jersey potters, very few signed examples of his work are known. A large body of stoneware pieces, decorated with impressed circular seals depicting a variety of designs, are credited to his hand. H 10 1/4".
New Jersey Rarity. Extremely Rare and Important Three-Gallon Stoneware Jar with Cobalt Pomegranate Decoration, attributed to the Kemple Pottery, Ringoes, New Jersey, circa 1746-1795.
One of a small number of intact examples known from the Kemple Pottery. For more information, see "The Eighteenth-Century New Jersey Stoneware Potteries of Captain James Morgan and the Kemple Family" by Golderg, Warwick, and Warwick in Ceramics in America 2008. H 14 1/2".
Extremely Rare Presentation Stoneware Batter Pail with Freehand Cobalt Decoration, Inscribed "Presented / To / Mr & Mrs T C Alvater / By / John Kunsman / Oct 1st 1899", John Kunsman at the Fulper Pottery, Flemington, New Jersey, 1899.
John Kunsman, Fulper Pottery's master potter, is most well-known for the role he played in the development of the company's art pottery line in the early 20th century. Around the year 1900, Kunsman began experimenting with forms and glazes in the Arts & Crafts style, which were sold to visitors outside of the pottery. His artware, taken by company owner, William H. Fulper II, to the 1904 Louisiana Purchase Exposition, won a prize of honorable mention for their design. This batter pail, potted in a small three-quart size, exemplifies Kunsman's style on the cusp of the company's transition from utilitarian stoneware to modern art pottery. H 8".
Exceedingly Rare and Fine Molded Stoneware Coffeepot, Stamped "D. & J. HENDERSON / JERSEY CITY", David and John Henderson, Jersey City, New Jersey. Featuring an exceptional, high-styled form with figural handle and griffon-head spout, this example also includes a previously-undocumented maker's mark, in which the impression is reversed. H 9 1/2".
Exceptional Six-Gallon Stoneware Crock with Cobalt Double-Bird-on-Stump Decoration, Stamped "ALBANY NY," circa 1860. This exuberantly-decorated piece is one of the finest examples bearing this mark we have ever offered. The rare depiction of two facing birds is complemented by heavily slip-trailed ground cover with a split-rail fence.
Rare Cobalt-Decorated Stoneware Bank, Inscribed "Jesse Leister / 1872", attributed to Richard C. Remmey, Philadelphia, PA. H 4 3/4".
The recipient of the bank is probably the Jesse Leister listed in the 1870 census as a 9-year-old schoolboy living in the same Philadelphia city ward as the Remmey shop--making him about 11 years old when the bank was gifted to him.
Fine One-Gallon Stoneware Pitcher with Cobalt Dotted Tulip Decoration, Stamped "JOHN BELL / WAYNESBORO", PA origin, circa 1850-1880. H 10 3/4".
Exceptional Two-Gallon Glazed Redware Jug with Bold Yellow Slip "Moon" Decoration, Galena, IL origin, second half 19th century. The finest example of Galena redware we have ever offered. H 12 1/2".
Outstanding and Rare Stoneware Pitcher with Elaborate Incised Foliate Decoration, Ohio origin, circa 1840-1860. H 11".
Very Fine Miniature Stoneware Pitcher with Detailed Cobalt Floral Decoration, Ohio origin, probably Westhafer & Lambright, Tuscawaras County, circa 1865. H 5 1/2".
Click images to enlarge.