Extremely Rare Diminutive Stoneware Snake Jug, probably Boonville, Missouri, Dated 1886

July 18, 2015 Stoneware Auction

Lot #: 115

Price Realized: $16,100.00

($14,000 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:  July 18, 2015 Auction | Anna Pottery

July 18, 2015 Auction Catalog

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Very Rare Diminutive Stoneware Temperance Jug with Elaborate Applied Figural Decorations and Frog Stopper, probably Boonville, MO, Dated 1886, ovoid jug with tall neck, semi-squared spout, and rounded handle, the surface embellished with incised bark and applied knot holes. Profusely decorated throughout with applied figural designs in the manner of Wallace and Cornwall Kirkpatrick's Anna Pottery of Anna, IL. A molded bust of a man in top hat appears at the shoulder, flanked by two hand-modeled lizards, one with incised stripes, the other with impressed spots. A curvaceous snake, decorated with deeply-gouged markings, slithers towards the human figure from the base. A second snake coils around the handle, attempting to devour the man from above. A heavily-scaled fish decorates the surface of the jug near the base. A turtle appears on the right shoulder area of the jug, beside a dung beetle rolling a ball of dung. Many of the animals represented include decoration with a serrated incising tool, which creates a distinctive striped pattern. Surface covered in a reddish-brown Albany slip glaze. The reverse features a second figure, produced from the same mold as the bust on the front, lying in a grave with applied tombstone, inscribed "DIED 1886" below an incised cross. A miniature molded jug lies beside the figure, indicating his cause of death. A modeled and applied tree with incised branches appears behind the grave. This jug includes a wonderful original stopper with hand-modeled and applied frog, featuring bulging eyes, incised striping, and deeply-carved toes. This outstanding, recently-surfaced example is the smallest jug of its type we have handled. The inclusion of fish and grave motif are highly unusual and the first we have seen on an American temperance jug. Perhaps most striking about this object is its fine attention to detail, despite its small size. The entire piece is fashioned with a high level of delicacy, particularly evident in the well-sculpted frog stopper. Its strong similarity to a jug bearing a presentation inscription, including the abbreviation "B-n-ville", suggests this piece was made in Boonville, Missouri by an as-yet-unidentified artist. A number of other Boonville snake-decorated jugs, which lack a clear connection to the Anna style, are known. Possible sites of origin include the Jeggelin Pottery or the Vollrath family's "Boonville Pottery". Provenance: Recently discovered in Florida. Literature: For a similar example, see Denker, The Kirkpatrick's Pottery, Anna, Illinois, Northeast Archaeological Association, Volume 9, Issue 1, p. 31, fig. 5. Two pieces of tombstone broken and reglued, with chipping visible on interior of tombstone. Turtle missing head. Two small, shallow spout chips. H (excluding stopper) 7 1/8" ; H (including stopper) 8 1/4".

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