Important Stoneware Jug w/ Depiction of "John Bull" Smoking a Pipe, Manhattan, c1810

March 1, 2014 Stoneware Auction

Lot #: 2

Price Realized: $10,350.00

($9,000 hammer, plus 15% buyer's premium)

PLEASE NOTE:  This result is 9 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:  March 1, 2014 Auction | New York City Stoneware | Incised Stoneware

March 1, 2014 Auction Catalog

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Important and Possibly Unique Two-Gallon Stoneware Jug with Incised Decoration of a Reclining Figure with Bull's Head and Pipe, Manhattan, NY origin, late 18th or early 19th century, ovoid jug with tooled spout, decorated with a large incised and cobalt-highlighted design of a human figure with the head of a bull, smoking a pipe. Figure is depicted in a reclining stance with crossed legs and boots, holding a long-stemmed pipe in its left hand, with smoke emanating from the pipe's bowl. Stylized details to bull's head, including U-shaped pattern to face and impressed eyes and nostrils. Three stylized leaves form a ground below the figure. Brushed cobalt highlights to handle terminals. Includes antique wooden stopper. This jug most likely depicts John Bull, the national personification of Great Britain commonly used in political cartoons beginning in the eighteenth century. The character of John Bull served a very similar function to the British nation as Uncle Sam did to the United States. While cartoonists usually portrayed Bull as a portly Englishman, often smoking a long pipe, the character's surname led to playful depictions of John Bull as an actual Bull. Many late eighteenth-century cartoons from both America and Britain portray John Bull as a very realistic Bull. By the early nineteenth century, cartoonists were known to drawn John Bull as a Bull in human form. For instance, two well-known creations by noted American political cartoonist, William Charles, made during the War of 1812 and entitled "Johnny Bull and the Alexandrians" and "John Bull and the Baltimoreans" depict such an anthropomorphic John Bull. Of great importance to this jug, John Bully and the Alexandrians begins with John Bull addressing residents of Alexandria, VA with, "I must have all your Flour -- All your Tobacco -- All your Provisions -- All your Ships -- All your Merchandize ... ." Tobacco was among the most widely-consumed American products by eighteenth and nineteenth-century British residents. On this jug, the character of John Bull appears to be lazily smoking a long pipe. Far from portraying Bull as a strong figure, the Manhattan potter who decorated this jug depicts Bull reclining belly-up with legs crossed and toes pointed up. While John Bull was consuming America's chief cash crop, he appears in a comically self-indulgent pose, a political statement which would have resonated with this jug's owner. A possibly unique recent discovery. Manhattan stoneware of this quality is becoming increasingly difficult-to-find. Provenance: A fresh-to-the-market example, deaccessioned from a museum. The jug was donated to the museum in 1974, having been purchased by the donor in the 1930's from a prominent Connecticut antiques dealer. March's auction will be the first time this piece will be sold on the public market in eighty years. Base chips. Some firing flaws, typical of stoneware of this age and origin. H 15 1/2".

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