Very Rare D. G. Thompson, Morgantown, WV Stoneware People Crock

July 18, 2015 Stoneware Auction

Lot #: 402

Price Realized: $3,220.00

($2,800 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.

Auction Highlight:  July 18, 2015 Auction | West Virginia Stoneware

July 18, 2015 Auction Catalog

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Very Rare Three-Gallon Cobalt-Decorated Stoneware People Jar, attributed to the Thompson Pottery, Morgantown, WV, third quarter 19th century, semi-ovoid form with rounded shoulder, tapered rim, and distinctive, extruded lug handles with angled terminals, the front decorated with a brushed folk art design of a figure in dress or cloak with highly-stylized, sponge-decorated hair or head covering. While Morgantown stoneware often includes sponge-decorated embellishments, including arches and the massed leaves of trees, we have yet to see another example from this pottery with sponging on top of the figure's head. Typical to the Morgantown style, and particularly found on this pottery's bird, fish, and animal designs, the figure's face includes lightly-incised details to the eye and ear. The facial features of the figure are exceptionally rare for Morgantown people-decorated stoneware. The distinctive head detail on this figure suggests that the decorator was attempting to create a design of a specific person, possibly an African-American, a Native American with headdress, or "blackamoor" with turban. It also possible that the figure represents a field hand carrying a gathering basket on his or her head, a common practice in 19th century America. The object held by the figure can be found on numerous other Morgantown pieces, and can be interpreted as a feathered hat, bag, or piece of produce. The shoulder of the jar features the distinctive Morgantown three-gallon capacity mark, surrounded by a sponged cobalt arch. Coupled with the intriguing figural decoration is an appealing, unusually-narrow form to the jar itself. An exciting recent discovery to add to the body of known figural motifs employed at this important West Virginia manufactory. Provenance: This jar was recently discovered in Cecil County, MD. According to the consignor, it had been found by a relative several decades ago, half-buried in an outbuilding on a family farm in Fairmont, West Virginia. Inverted 7 1/2" T-shaped crack extending up from base on reverse of jar. The horizontal part of the T at base measures approximately 7 1/2" as well. This crack continues as a hairline across underside and 1" up front of jar. Reverse of rim with chip and minor nick. One shallow chip on interior of rim. A 1" surface line to bottom edge of rim on front, difficult to see when jar is viewed head-on. A shallow base chip on reverse. H 14 1/2".

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