Outstanding A. O. WHITTEMORE / HAVANA, NY Water Cooler w/ Bear Spigot and Bird Decoration

July 18, 2015 Stoneware Auction

Lot #: 183

Price Realized: $632.50

($550 hammer, plus 15% buyer's premium)

PLEASE NOTE:  This result is 8 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.

July 18, 2015 Auction Catalog

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Outstanding and Possibly Unique Stoneware Water Cooler with Bear's Head Bunghole and Cobalt Bird Decoration, Stamped "A.O. WHITTEMORE / HAVANA, NY", circa 1870, highly-ovoid cooler with tooled spout, exceptional rope-twist handles with impressed screwhead terminals, the base with large hand-modeled bunghole in the form of a bear's head with heavy incising and cobalt highlights throughout. Front decorated with a large spotted bird perched on a branch. Slip-trailed cobalt highlights surrounding the handle terminals. Impressed with cobalt-highlighted maker's mark of A.O. Whittemore on reverse. This cooler is possibly the most ambitiously potted and decorated piece of stoneware ever produced at the A.O. Whittemore manufactory. Its figural bung hole, a powerful work of American folk sculpture in its own right, can be found on at least two other coolers, one produced at an unknown New York State stoneware pottery, and the other on a six-gallon Samuel Irvine cooler from Newville, PA, which was offered in our July 19, 2008 auction. These three pieces indicate the work of an as-yet-unidentified itinerant potter of great skill and creativity. Provenance: Purchased by the consignor in the early 1970s at an auction in New York State. A circular marking on the underside indicates this cooler was likely made with a pedestal base that was probably lost during the firing. A large spider crack on front. In-the-firing drips of salt or kiln residue to front. Two tight diagonal lines to base area on reverse. Some minor crazing and minor chips to base on reverse. Bunghole undamaged. H 16".

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