Large-Sized Bell Family, Shenandoah Valley, Redware Dog

January 30, 2010 Stoneware Auction

Lot #: 135

Price Realized: $2,185.00

($1,900 hammer, plus 15% buyer's premium)

PLEASE NOTE:  This result is 14 years old, and the American ceramics market frequently changes. Additionally, small nuances of color, condition, shape, etc. can mean huge differences in price. If you're interested in having us sell a similar item for you, please contact us here.

January 30, 2010 Auction Catalog

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Exceedingly Rare and Important Large-Sized Redware Dog with Slip Decoration, attributed to the Bell Family, Strasburg, VA or Waynesboro, PA, second half 19th century, hand-modeled dog in standing pose with slightly-turned head, curled tail, and long ears. Heavily-incised fur to body, head, and underside. Incised detail to face, toes, and claws. Eyes are composed of impressed ovals with a second inner arching line. This distinctive stamp has been used as a basis for attributing animals to the Strasburg Bells and occassionally the Waynesboro Bells (Comstock, p. 155). Surface decorated with streaks of manganese and daubs of yellowish slip under a clear lead glaze. The use of a yellowish slip, though common to other Bell forms, is rare among their hand-modeled animals. Figure rattles when shaken. There are two vent holes in this animal, one between the front legs and one in the rear. Interestingly, the famous Solomon Bell lion, now housed at the Museum of Early Southern Decorative Arts, contains a vent hole between the front legs as well. This particular dog is pictured on page 264 of Alvin H. Rice and John Baer Stoudt's "The Shenandoah Pottery," and is listed in their book as a John Bell product of Waynesboro, PA. However, this figure also bears similarities to the products of John's brothers, Solomon and Samuel, in Strasburg, VA. A skillfully-crafted and wonderfully-glazed example of American folk sculpture, constructed in an imposing size. Restoration to breaks and chips in legs. Figure once held a basket against its neck, and possibly stood on a base. The basket area has since been filled and painted over. Paint over areas on sides of dog's mouth, where basket handles once fit. Paint over one ear, though it is unclear how much is actual restoration. H 8 5/8" ; Length 8 3/4".

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