Extremely Important Monumental Stoneware Two-Sided Face Pitcher att. Huntingdon County, PA

March 25, 2017 Stoneware Auction

Lot #: 1

Price Realized: DNMR

March 25, 2017 Auction Catalog

◀︎ Back to Catalog


Important and Probably Unique Oversized Stoneware Two-Sided Face Pitcher with Profuse Cobalt Floral Decoration, attributed to Elisha B. Hyssong, Cassville, PA, circa 1850, ovoid-bodied pitcher of four-and-a-half-gallon capacity with footed base, tooled rim, and pinched pouring spouts on front and reverse; decorated on both sides with a hand-modeled and applied clay face featuring an open mouth, eyes with balled-clay pupils, pointed nose with carved nostrils, ears, and distinctive semi-lunate forehead. Surface profusely-decorated with an elaborate flowering vine motif on both sides. Decorated around the face with smaller flower blossoms, including a single flower and leaf flanking the face on one side and a leaf beside one ear on the opposite side. Each spout decorated with cobalt dashes, flanked by swags and tulips. Cobalt highlights to both pairs of eyes and handle terminals. Potted in a monumental four-and-a-half-gallon size, this pitcher is one of the largest examples of the form known, only outsized by a few documented pieces; these include the Harrington & Burger, Rochester, N.Y. pitcher with hound handle and eagle motif, regarded as the cornerstone piece of the Weitsman Collection at the New York State Museum in Albany, NY, the "Adam Wipfield" Baltimore pitcher at the Maryland Historical Society in Baltimore, MD, and the five-gallon Baltimore example in this auction. It is additionally the only American stoneware pitcher we are aware of featuring two spouts. While a small number of cobalt-decorated single-face pitchers are known from the Mid-Atlantic region, this work distinguishes itself as the only American stoneware pitcher we have seen decorated with two applied clay faces. To accommodate pouring, the pitcher was originally fashioned with two handles at the sides, also a highly unusual treatment. This piece was fashioned in the style of Remmey family face vessels at the pottery of Elisha Benjamin Hyssong in Cassville, Huntingdon County, PA, circa 1850. Hyssong's distinctive floral decorations, as seen on this pitcher, were likely inspired by Huntingdon, PA potter, Henry Glazier, who most likely learned to make and decorate stoneware in Baltimore, MD in the late 1820s. Hyssong began his potting career as an apprentice in Waynesboro, PA, eighty miles north of Baltimore, later marrying a Huntingdon County native and establishing a long-standing operation in Cassville in 1847. Several members of the Remmey family were active in Baltimore from 1812-1829, and in Philadelphia from 1829 into the 20th century. Possible Baltimore connections through Henry Glazier, Hyssong's tenure in Waynesboro, or itinerant potters traveling north, could explain this pitcher's Remmey-type face. Similarly, potters traveling westward from Philadelphia may also have been this piece's inspiration. Regardless, the face on this pitcher assumes a more serene expression and a refinement in modeling arguably greater than the Remmeys' creations, which typically featured cruder facial features and incised embellishments. A relatively small number of American cobalt-decorated stoneware face vessels of any quality are known, and few have come to auction over the past several decades. The exceptional size and form of this example rank it among the very best, if not the best, of its category to ever come to auction. With regard to both pottery and folk art collecting genres, this pitcher is also one of the greatest works we have ever offered. Literature: For a pitcher attributed to Elisha B. Hyssong, see Schaltenbrand, Big Ware Turners: The History and Manufacturer of Pennsylvania Stoneware, p. 76. Both handles professionally-restored. A large chip to one spout. Other chips, primarily to ears. A faint Y-shaped surface line on underside, not visible on interior. H 17".

©2022 Crocker Farm, Inc. | info@crockerfarm.com | (410) 472-2016