Monumental I. BELL (John Bell, Waynesboro, PA) Tin-Glazed Redware Jar

March 14, 2015 Stoneware Auction

Lot #: 147

Price Realized: $7,475.00

($6,500 hammer, plus 15% buyer's premium)

PLEASE NOTE:  This result is 7 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 14, 2015 Auction | John Bell Pottery | Pennsylvania Redware

March 14, 2015 Auction Catalog

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Important and Possibly Unique Six-Gallon Tin-Glazed Redware Jar with Profuse Brushed Cobalt Floral and Sponged Decoration, Stamped "I. BELL," John Bell, Chambersburg or Waynesboro, PA, circa 1830, large-sized, ovoid jar with rounded rim, incised way line decoration around shoulder, and ribbed pocket handles with depressed terminals. Surface coated in a highly unusual tin slip and exuberantly-decorated completely around the jar's cirmcumference with brushed cobalt slip tulips and sponged banding. Additional cobalt sponging on top of handles. Exterior surface covered in a clear lead glaze overlying the tin and cobalt slip. Interior surface covered in a reddish-brown lead-and-manganese glaze. Impressed with recessed "I. BELL" maker's mark at shoulder. While this jar is described in Comstock's The Pottery of the Shenandoah Valley Region as a Hagerstown product made circa 1823, the mark on the jar appears to be a recessed Bell mark used circa 1830-1850, and not his raised-faced mark of an earlier period. However, the early-style glaze treatment and handle construction indicate this vessel was probably made shortly into the introduction of the recessed "I. BELL" mark, circa 1830. This phenomenal jar ranks among the most profusely-decorated examples of pottery known by a member of the Bell family. Adding greatly to its significance is the use of an opaque white tin glaze over the surface, which modeled itself after fine delftware from England and Holland. Relatively few examples of 19th century American tin-glazed pottery are known, among them a small number of Bell family products. These include a highly important inkstand, produced by John Bell in 1825 while still active at his father's shop in Winchester, VA, (believed to be the earliest documented example of American tin glaze), as well as a cake mold with cobalt floral and sponged decoration, bearing the Winchester, VA mark of John's brother, Samuel. This jar is possibly the largest and most ornately-decorated example of American tin-glazed pottery known. This jar presents Bell as a complete potter and highly-skilled artisan, proficient at throwing, glazing, decorating, and firing. In the case of this jar, Bell states that the pot's artistic merit may even be more important than its functionality. Among the thousands of signed John Bell pottery jars known, it is arguably his masterpiece of the form. Certainly the most important example of John Bell redware to come to auction in many years. Provenance: From an eighty-five year private collection. Literature: Illustrated and discussed in Comstock, The Pottery of the Shenandoah Valley Region, p. 108. Significant surface flakes, primarily to one side near base. Flaking to interior. Two large base chips and one small base chip. A 4" hairline from rim. A 7 1/2" crack on underside, continuing onto base. Some additional surface wear. Some wear to rim and handles. H 14 1/4 ; Diameter (across top) 12 3/4".

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