American Stoneware at its Finest. Exceedingly Rare and Important Seven-Gallon Stoneware Water Cooler with Incised Federal Eagle Decoration, attributed to Henry Remmey, Sr. or Jr., Baltimore, MD, circa 1812-1829.
With its striking eagle design and outstanding open-handled cooler form, this example ranks as arguably the finest American stoneware object to come to auction since the iconic William Crolius inkstand set a then-record price for the medium at Sotheby's in 1991. The distinctive fanned floral motifs emanating from the bunghole link it to New-York-trained potters, Henry Remmey, Sr. and his son, Henry Harrison Remmey, while active in Baltimore, MD, circa 1821-1829. The cooler's well-potted form includes open loop handles with highly unusual added clay segments, which add structural stability and decorative flair. The cooler's exuberant figural decoration, grand size, and excellent form, are met with a brilliant and heavy cobalt-oxide application and light-colored clay body, both characteristic of the Remmeys' best Baltimore products.
Its eagle design, an adaptation of the Great Seal of the United States, was almost certainly copied by the decorator from the reverse of coins in circulation at the time. Engraver Charles Sims's "heraldic eagle" appeared on the reverse of most coins from nickels to five-dollar gold pieces minted during the period of 1796 to 1807. His design, like that found on this watercooler, includes an eagle facing left (toward the arrows), its head encircled by stars and surmounted by stylized clouds.
When considering the craftsmanship, subject matter, form, and origin of this object, its importance as a purely-American work of ceramic art cannot be overstated. Provenance: A fresh-to-the-market example, purchased by the consignor's father at a Pennsylvania estate auction in 1974. H 19 1/4".
Outstanding Edgefield Stoneware Discovery. Fine Alkaline-Glazed Stoneware Face Jug, Edgefield, SC origin, circa 1860-1870. This fresh-to-the-market example includes a well-formed nose and pronounced chin, and is potted in a unusual larger size. Examples of this style have been attributed to Lewis Miles' Stoney Bluff Manufactory, based on the recovery of distinctive face jug fragments from that site. Provenance: Recently discovered in New York State. H 7 5/8".
Elusive Early Form. Important Small-Sized Stoneware Spouted Vessel with Elaborate Impressed and Cobalt-Highlighted Drape Decoration, Manhattan, NY, fourth quarter 18th century.
Possibly colonial in age, this example is one of a small number of intact American stoneware objects of this form known. H 7 1/4".
Outstanding and Exceedingly Rare Stoneware Batter Pail with Elaborate Slip-Trailed Cobalt Decoration, attributed to Jacob Caire, Poughkeepsie, NY, circa 1845. H 9 7/8".
Important Shenandoah Valley Vase. Outstanding Open-Handled Redware Vase with Lead, Manganese, and Copper Glaze over Yellow Slip, Stamped Twice "BAECHER / WINCHESTER, VA", Anthony Bacher, Winchester, VA, circa 1885.
This striking vase features one of the most visually-appealing glazes we have seen on an example of Bacher redware, incorporating daubs of bright-green copper oxide into his classic manganese-over-slip decorative scheme. This three-color treatment is considered rare among this potter's work. While many Bacher pieces succumbed to moderate to significant glaze wear and overall damage, the condition of this vase remains in essentially untouched condition with a brilliant luster. It ranks as one of the very finest examples of pottery we have handled by this highly-regarded Virginia artisan. H 9".
Exceptional One-Gallon Redware Jug with Profuse Sponged Manganese Decoration, Stamped "JOHN BELL / WAYNESBORO'," PA origin, circa 1870. This boldly-decorated example survives in essentially as-made condition.
Exceptional Three-Gallon Alkaline-Glazed Stoneware Jug with Two-Color Slip Floral and Bold-Faced "3", attributed to the C. Rhodes Factory, Shaw's Creek, Edgefield District, SC, circa 1850.
This outstanding example features particularly well-defined slip decoration combining brushed iron-oxide and vivid kaolin highlights over a glossy green ground. The use of the three-gallon capacity designation as a decorative device, which blossoms like a flower from the design's central stem, adds to the folk art appeal of the jug. This example ranks as one of the finest pieces of Rhodes numeral-decorated ware to come to auction in the past decade. Provenance: A fresh-to-the- market example, purchased privately by the consignor nearly fifteen years ago.
New Jersey Stoneware Rosetta Stone. Exceedingly Rare and Important Large-Sized Stoneware Jar with Boldly-Brushed Cobalt Decoration, Inscribed "Made by David Bissett / Decemr the 4 1819", Old Bridge, NJ origin, 1819. This jar is one of a very few surviving examples of stoneware bearing a hand-incised signature by a member of the Bissett family of potters, based out of the important early American potting center of Old Bridge, New Jersey. It may serve as a basis for attribution of unsigned pieces produced by this family, of which numerous examples are believed to exist. Interestingly, the three petaled floral motif on the reverse can be related to early examples of Richmond, VA stoneware, which were influenced by New Jersey potting and decorating techniques. H 15 1/2".
Extremely Rare Large-Sized Stoneware Jug with Iron-Oxide Circle Decoration and Impressed Floral Design, attributed to Xerxes Price, Sayreville, NJ, early 19th century. H 15 1/2".
Extremely Rare One-Gallon Stoneware Jar with Cobalt Floral Decoration, Stamped "W. NICHOLS / PO'KEEPSIE," New York State origin, circa 1823. One of a small number of signed examples of William Nichols stoneware known.
Exceptional Six-Gallon Stoneware Churn with Elaborate Cobalt Pheasant-on-Stump Decoration, Stamped "J. NORTON & CO. / BENNINGTON, VT", circa 1860.
Fine Small-Sized Stoneware Frog Mug with Cold-Painted Decoration, attributed to Wallace and Cornwall Kirkpatrick, Anna, IL, circa 1885. The Albany-slip-glazed surface includes the incised poem, "I love my native land. / Land of swamps and bogs. / I am the leader of her band / Louisville sweet land of Bully frogs.". H 3" ; Diam. (across opening) 3 3/8".
Important Edgefield Stoneware Discovery. Very Rare Alkaline-Glazed Stoneware Harvest Face Jug, Edgefield District, SC origin, circa 1860-1870.
Potted in an impressive large size with appealing harvest or monkey jug form, this Edgefield face vessel is possibly the finest example of the form to come to auction in years. The sculpting of the face includes well-defined ears, lightly-depressed areas to the base and midsection that mimic the jaw and cheek structure of a human face, and distinctive, almost-flattened kaolin eyes, which lack incised pupils. The jug's form, and aspects of the face, including the shapes of its eyes, ears, and nose, link to a small body of work by an as-yet-unidentified school or maker. Most prominent in this group is a monkey jug incised "Joe Kirksey", illustrated on p. 81, fig. 3.10 of Cinda K. Baldwin's book, Great and Noble Jar, and currently in the collection of the High Museum of Art in Atlanta, GA. A second more-closely related example is illustrated on the back cover of Baldwin, and currently resides in the collection of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. Provenance: A fresh-to-the-market example, found by the consignor in Connecticut several years ago. H 9 1/2".
Important Georgia Stoneware Discovery. Outstanding Salt-Glazed Stoneware Face Harvest Jug with Albany Slip Decoration, probably Barrow County, GA, circa 1880-1900. This recently-surfaced example includes a well-sculpted face, hair composed of incised combing, and Albany slip highlights to the hair, mustache, eyebrows, and eyes, applied under a very light salt glaze.
The founding father of the Barrow County style was Charles H. Ferguson, who was previously employed at Dr. Abner Landrum's Pottersville stoneware manufactory in the Edgefield District of South Carolina, circa 1815-1825. Ferguson described Landrum as a "good friend" in an undated mortgage document, and additional documents reference Ferguson's association with other potters who had worked with Landrum (Burrison, Brothers in Clay, p. 215). It is possible that face jug production in Barrow County may have been inspired by connections between the Ferguson and Landrum families, or possibly by the work of the many other Edgefield-trained potters who would later settle in Georgia. The salt glaze over Albany slip treatment on this jug can be found on utilitarian pieces made in Barrow County and Gillsville, Georgia. Provenance: A fresh-to-the-market example, which descended in a Barrow County, GA family to its current owner. The consignor's great uncle was using it as his personal whiskey jug when he died in 1962. H 6 1/2" ; Diameter (across base) 5".
Outstanding Folk Sculpture. Large-Sized Stoneware Figure of a Seated Monkey with Top Hat and Whiskey Jug, Southern or Midwestern U.S., circa 1885. This impressive figure includes wheel-thrown construction to the animal's body and the whiskey jug clutched at his side. The Albany-slip-glazed surface features appealing polychrome cold paint to the face. The hollow interior of the hat may have allowed the figure to serve as a match safe. This sculpture appears to reference, either seriously or jokingly, the evils of alcohol consumption and is quite possibly related to the Temperance Movement. H 12".
Scarce One-Gallon Alkaline-Glazed Stoneware Milkpan with Kaolin Slip Decoration, Stamped "CHANDLER", Thomas Chandler, Edgefield, SC, circa 1850. Unusual form and rare maker's mark, which omits the word "MAKER".
Scarce Two-Gallon Alkaline-Glazed Stoneware Jug with Two-Color Slip Decoration, attributed to the C. Rhodes Factory, Edgefield, SC, circa 1850.
Extremely Rare Three-Gallon Stoneware Jar with Incised Bird Decoration, Manhattan, NY origin, possibly Crolius Family, circa 1795. The striking black slip highlighting the bird designs was possibly created by mixing cobalt oxide and manganese dioxide. One of the finest Manhattan bird-decorated pieces we have ever handled.
Extremely Rare Stoneware Jug with Incised Fish and Floral Decorations, Stamped "SH ADDINGTON / UTICA", New York State origin, circa 1830-1838. According to the book, Our County and Its People: A Descriptive Work on Oneida County, New York by Daniel Elbridge Wager, Addington would form a business relationship with potter, Noah White, and his son, Nicholas A. White, in 1838. The Whites would soon acquire Addington's pottery, and establish their long-standing Utica operation on this site. Attesting to the rarity of signed Addington stoneware is the fact that this jug is the first marked example of his work we have ever offered. H 14 1/4".
Exceptional Three-Gallon Stoneware Churn with Elaborate Cobalt Floral Decoration, Stamped "N. CLARK & CO / LYONS", New York State origin, circa 1845.
Extremely Rare One-Gallon Stoneware Cream Jar with Cobalt Decoration of a Man's Bust, Stamped "WHITES UTICA", New York State origin, circa 1865.
Monumental Eight-Gallon Stoneware Keg-Form Cooler with Incised Bird and Floral Motifs Decoration Flanked by Cobalt Butterflies, Stamped "CHARLESTOWN", MA origin, circa 1840. Impressive in form, size, and decoration, this cooler ranks as the finest example of signed Charlestown stoneware we have ever offered. H 18 1/2".
Outstanding and Very Rare Two-Gallon Stoneware Jar with Cobalt Watchspring Decoration, attributed to Abraham Mead, Greenwich, CT, circa 1790. This example includes wonderful color and survives in remarkable condition, particularly when considering its age.
Exceptional One-Gallon Vertical-Handled Stoneware Jar with Impressed Drape Motif, Stamped "COMMERAWS STONEWARE", Thomas Commeraw, Corlears Hook, Manhattan, NY, circa 1800. The finest jar we have ever offered featuring the potter's well-known "COMMERAWS STONEWARE" maker's mark.
Very Fine One-and-a-Half-Gallon Stoneware Jar with Vertical Handles and Incised Floral Decoration with Combed Accents, Manhattan, NY origin, circa 1800.
Lead-and-Manganese-Glazed Redware Hunt Scene Pitcher, Stamped "JOHN BELL / WAYNESBORO", circa 1870. This example includes highly-unusual incised details to the faces of the animals on each side.
Exceptional Diminutive Stoneware Churn with Cobalt Floral Decoration, Inscribed in Cobalt "Roseville Ohio" and "Charlie Melick", Roseville, Perry County, Ohio origin, circa 1875. H 10".
A Charles Melick, aged 2, is listed in the 1870 Federal Census for Perry County, Ohio, with a father whose occupation is listed as "Deals in Stoneware." This churn was probably made as a gift for young Charlie at some point in the 1870's.
Click images to enlarge.