Important Samuel Bell (Shenandoah Valley, Strasburg, VA) Stoneware Face Pitcher


March 3, 2012 Stoneware Auction

Lot #: 63

Price Realized: $63,250.00

($55,000 hammer, plus 15% buyer's premium)

PLEASE NOTE:  This result is 12 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 | March 3, 2012 Auction | Shenandoah Pottery | Face Jugs

March 3, 2012 Auction Catalog

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Exceedingly Rare and Important Stoneware Face Pitcher with Profuse Cobalt Tulip Decoration, attributed to Samuel Bell, Winchester or Strasburg, Va, circa 1835-1845, highly ovoid pitcher with rounded foot and cylindrical collar with elaborately-tooled rim molding, the front decorated with an applied and cobalt-highlighted face, including a tall semi-circular forehead, pronounced chin, curved ears, pointed nose, open mouth, eyelids, and pierced eyes. Reverse lavishly-decorated with a brushed cobalt tulip plant, including open-centered blossoms of various sizes and heavy leaves, which extends around the sizes of the pitcher. Collar decorated with similar floral brushwork. It is this distinctive tulip design, coupled with the form and color of the pitcher, that create a firm attributed to Shenandoah Valley potter, Samuel Bell. Of significant note is the fact that this pitcher is the only Shenandoah Valley stoneware face vessel we are aware of. It is additionally one of only two known stoneware face vessels known from the entire state of Virginia, the other being a large ochre-decorated pitcher of unknown maker, which resides in the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Museum in Williamsburg, VA. The only other cobalt-decorated face vessels found in the American South were produced by the Decker family of Tennessee. The imaginative figural decoration and extreme rarity of this pitcher make it not only a very significant piece of Virginia stoneware, but also a highly important piece of Southern folk art. Provenance: Recently rediscovered in the Midwest, having originally been purchased at an auction in the New Market, VA area approximately thirty-five years ago. Missing handle. A chip and small nick to spout, and a few chips to right ear. In-the-firing dry spot to right side. H 10 3/4".

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