Extremely Rare J. KEISTER & CO. / STRASBURG, VA Three-Gallon Stoneware Pitcher w/ Elaborate Floral Decoration

July 18, 2015 Stoneware Auction

Lot #: 54

Price Realized: $23,000.00

($20,000 hammer, plus 15% buyer's premium)

PLEASE NOTE:  This result is 9 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.

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July 18, 2015 Auction Catalog

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Exceedingly Rare and Important Three-Gallon Stoneware Pitcher with Profuse Cobalt Floral and Swag Decorations, Stamped "J. KEISTER & CO. / STRASBURG, VA", circa 1857-1870, ovoid pitcher with tooled body, applied strap handle, and narrow, flaring collar with tooled rim and midsection, the front decorated with an elaborate tulip plant design featuring three fan-shaped blossoms. This design is flanked on the left and right by graduated swags emanating from the base of the collar. Additional graduated swags decorate the sides of the collar and vertically flank the spout, which is decorated along its edge with cobalt dashes. Outstanding in size, decoration, and form, this pitcher may be the finest example of Jeremiah Keister stoneware in existence. While a few important three-gallon pitchers by the potter's father, Adam, are known, this example is the only pitcher of this capacity by Jeremiah Keister we are aware of. More generally, relatively few pitchers of this grand size are known in all of 19th century American stoneware production. The distinctive cobalt decoration indicates it was likely made at Keister's shop by James Shinnick, a Baltimore-trained potter who was active in Alexandria, VA decades prior. Shinnick would also use similar motifs on pieces he produced at a pottery in Mt. Crawford, VA, along with potters, Mathias Ireland and George Duey. When considering the size, decoration, and maker, this pitcher can easily be regarded as one of the greatest Strasburg, VA pitchers known, as well as the best signed example to come to auction in over a decade. Provenance: A fresh-to-the-market example, purchased by the consignor at a Bill Tillett and Craig Damewood Auction in Purcellville, VA on October 24, 1992. Excellent overall condition with rim chips, a shallow spout chip, and a few minor base chips. H 15".

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