Important W.J. SCHROP / SPRINGFIELD, OHIO Patriotic 10 Gal. Stoneware Water Cooler w/ Union Flag Bearer

July 20, 2013 Stoneware Auction

Lot #: 468

Price Realized: $6,900.00

($6,000 hammer, plus 15% buyer's premium)

PLEASE NOTE:  This result is 10 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:  July 20, 2013 Auction | Ohio & Midwest

July 20, 2013 Auction Catalog

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Important and Possibly Unique Ten-Gallon Stoneware Water Cooler with Cobalt Decoration of Union Civil War Flag Bearer, Stamped "W.J. SCHROP / SPRINGFIELD / OHIO," circa 1865-1875, monumental, cylindrical jug with applied open handles, squared spout, and circular bunghole. Front decorated with folk art cobalt depiction of a running Union Civil War soldier with buttoned coat and kepi, carrying a large American flag with tasseled pole. The role of flag bearer, or color bearer, during the Civil War was a courageous one. Often unarmed, the flag bearer bore the responsibility of maintaining the position of a regiment during battle. (Typically, a Union regiment would have two flag bearers, one carrying the American flag, and the other carrying a unique regimental flag.) Flag bearers were stationed at the center of a unit and were essential in keeping soldiers from being separated, and, for this reason, it was important that the flag be held high and visible at all times. Besides being a landmark to follow during battle, the flag was also used to rally the troops, as well as a means of notifying a regiment of the capture of a Confederate site. The flag bearer and flag were typically protected by soldiers known as the color guard. When a flag bearer was killed, the closest member of the color guard would drop his rifle, take hold of the flag, and carry it where he was commanded to. Being unarmed, as well as a popular target of the enemy, the role of flag bearer was met with a high mortality rate. As many as six or seven flag bearers could be killed during a single battle. The image on this cooler was evidently one familiar to its maker, William J. Schrop. The potter is noted as having served a term of enlistment in the Civil War (Treichler, A History of Northeast Ohio Stoneware, p. 81). Whether Schrop served as a flag bearer or not is currently unknown. An important recent discovery in American stoneware with a rare figural decoration of great historical significance. Literature: For more information on the Schrop family of potters, see F. Robert Treichler, A History of Northeast Ohio Stoneware, 2011. For a similar form by this maker with floral decoration, see Georgeanna H. Greer, American Stonewares, 1981, p. 107. Excellent condition with discoloration around top of cooler and reverse base of cooler, consistent with floral-decorated example pictured in Greer's American Stonewares, a minor 3/4" line, a tiny chip to bung hole, and two base chips. H 24 1/2".

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