American Stoneware Masterpiece, Memorial Jug for a Potter Who Drowned

March 5, 2011 Stoneware Auction

Lot #: 1

Price Realized: $138,000.00

($120,000 hammer, plus 15% buyer's premium)

PLEASE NOTE:  This result is 13 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.

Auction Highlight:  Greatest Hits | New England Stoneware | March 5, 2011 Auction | Incised Stoneware | Connecticut Pottery

March 5, 2011 Auction Catalog

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Exceedingly Rare and Important Double-Handled Stoneware Jug with Profuse Incised Decoration, Inscribed "BENJAMIN HERINGTON / June the 1st, 1823," probably CT origin, small-sized ovoid jug with rounded spout and applied handles, decorated on one side with a large incised and cobalt-highlighted flowering plant bearing three birds surrounding a star. An incised heart, inscribed "B.H.," appears above this decoration. Reverse decorated with an incised and cobalt-highlighted urn with lid and open handles, below the inscription "BENJAMIN HERINGTON / June the 1st, 1823 /aetat 22" surrounded by impressed circles. The figure, Benjamin Herington, was a Schenectady, NY-trained potter, who tragically drown in Norwich harbor on June 1, 1823. An article in the June 4, 1823 edition of the Norwich Courier newspaper read, "DROWNED / At an early hour on Sunday last, Mr. BENJAMIN HERRINGTON, aged 22 years, was drowned by the upsetting of a boat in our harbour. The deceased was a potter by trade- a steady, industrious young man and a native of Schenectady, N.Y. His body had not been found when our paper went to press." The incised abbreviation "aetat 22" after the potters death date translates to "age at that time 22." The jug is additionally incised with a diamond pattern along each handle, ending in scalloped incising at each handle's base. Furthermore, the initials "J.L" and "H.T" appear under the handles, presumably the signatures of the potters who made the jug in commemoration of Herrington. Herrington's activity in Connecticut, coupled with the jugs distinctive bird and impressed circle decorations, all point to a Connecticut origin. This jug is one of the most profusely-incised examples of American stoneware known, and one of the most significant discoveries in the field over the past several years. The form and decoration are exceptional, and the ability to tie this piece to a known potter adds to its historical significance. Provenance: Recently found in the closet of a California home. Excellent condition with a faint 3 1/2" hairline extending upward from the base on one side. This line is difficult to see and very tight. Also a glazed-over base chip and a horizontal hairline on the underside of one handle, which does not extend through to the opposite side of the handle. It is likely that these three minor flaws occurred in the firing, and that this jug was never used. H 10".

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