Very Rare HAMILTON & JONES / GREENSBORO, PA Stoneware Jug w/ Stenciled Figural Scene

October 25, 2014 Stoneware Auction

Lot #: 285

Price Realized: DNMR

October 25, 2014 Auction Catalog

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Three-Gallon Stoneware Jug with Elaborate Stenciled Cobalt Tavern Scene, Stenciled "HAMILTON & JONES / GREENSBORO, PA," circa 1875, ovoid jug with tooled shoulder and spout, decorated with a stenciled decoration of a three men around a table, the left figure falling back in his chair, presumably drunk, while holding a bottle or circular hat in one hand and a glass in the other. The central figure, with nicely-executed shirt, holds a bottle and glass in his outstretched arms. The right figure, wearing a distinctive head covering, possibly a tricorn hat, sits casually in his chair, with one arm resting on his knee and the other resting over the chair's back. Stenciled below "From / James Hamilton & Co. / Greensboro, Pa." Base decorated with a large freehand underscored "3," flanked by cobalt stripes. One of a few examples known bearing this particular stenciled design. The ambitious and painstakingly-produced stencil used to create this scene was likely difficult to apply accurately, and, due to its fineness, may have broken shortly after its creation, leading to a very limited production. Whether this scene is a unique creation, depicts a specific event, or replicates another work of art is unknown. The design appears to depict three figures drinking around a covered table. The decoration may also depict a bar tender with his two patrons. Like many pieces by the Kirkpatrick brothers of Anna, Illinois, the general sentiment of the design seems to reference the pitfalls of alcohol consumption. Given the fact that this jug may very well have held an alcoholic beverage suggests that the scene may be viewed more as a playful decoration on a whiskey jug rather than a cautionary symbol. The distinctive hat on the right figure gives the design a more historic feel, and similar scenes can be found on European oil paintings and printed artwork dating from the 16th through the 18th centuries. Rarely is such liveliness achieved in American stoneware stenciled motifs. Provenance: Recently discovered in Texas. Missing handle. Otherwise excellent, essentially as-made condition with an in-the-firing contact mark near base on right side of jug.

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