Rare and Important Anna Pottery Temperance Snake Jug w/ Applied Figural Decoration

July 21, 2012 Stoneware Auction

Lot #: 165

Price Realized: $35,650.00

($31,000 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.

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July 21, 2012 Auction Catalog

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Rare and Important Anna Pottery Temperance Jug with Applied Figural Decoration and Incised Town of Anna, Signed "Kirkpatrick / Anna Ills," circa 1875, bulbous, salt-glazed jug with tall neck and squared spout, elaborately decorated with various applied clay and hand-incised designs. This ambitious work, which must have taken hours to complete, includes a heavily-scaled, snake-form handle, which extends through the neck of the jug, and grasps a frightened man's bust in its mouth. The bust of the man is expertly modeled in detail rarely found in American stoneware, with an open mouth revealing carved teeth and a protruding tongue. Elsewhere on the jug, six other snakes slither towards the captured man from holes modeled into the jug's surface. Four alternating male and female human forms are applied around the jug's midsection, forced headlong into cavities in the jug's wall. The front of the jug is additionally decorated with a large spider clutching the man's neck, as well as a turtle (a very rare addition to an Anna jug) climbing through the wall of the jug to its exterior. Body of jug heavily-incised with a depiction of the town of Anna, Illinois, including the Kirkpatricks' pottery with bottle neck kiln, Indian weather vane on roof holding a flag, and sign labeled "ANNA POTTERY". Remainder of jug incised with various incised buildings, houses, trees, and a walking man and woman. Top of jug's spout incised "Kirkpatrick / Anna, Ills". Cold-painted highlights to surface. A skillfully-crafted and highly-imaginative example of American stoneware. Provenance: The consignor included the following information with the jug: "In the early 60's I found the jug in my grandparents' McNairy County, Tennessee, smokehouse. It was being used to prop open the smokehouse door to allow daylight to illuminate the interior. My grandparents allowed me to take the jug to Memphis State University, when I was a student, to have someone identify it. No one at the university had seen anything like it and one professor thought it might be from South America (I guess he did not see the English inscription). The jug has been in my possession since that time." Newly-corroborated family history indicates the jug was given by a member of the Kirkpatrick family who had moved to Tennessee and was a neighbor of the consignor's grandfather. A "Kirkpatrick Rd." runs to the east of the smokehouse where the jug was discovered, evidently named after the Kirkpatrick family that lived there. Various losses and damage to applied decoration, some of which appears to have occurred during the firing. Typical wear to paint. H 10 1/2".

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