Extremely Rare and Important Adam States (Manhattan) circa 1745 Miniature Stoneware Jug

March 25, 2017 Stoneware Auction

Lot #: 66

Price Realized: $36,580.00

($31,000 hammer, plus 18% 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.

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March 25, 2017 Auction Catalog

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Exceedingly Rare and Important Miniature Stoneware Jug with Scrolled Handle and Slip-Trailed Cobalt Foliate and Watchspring Motifs, Incised "S+", attributed to Adam States, Sr., Manhattan, NY, circa 1745, ovoid jug with three incised lines to shoulder, tooled spout with semi-rounded lip, and delicate strap handle with highly-unusual scrolled terminal. Decorated on the front with thickly-slip-trailed foliate motif and around the lower handle terminal with watchsprings. Incised on side of jug with the abbreviation, "S+". An additional, lightly-incised watchspring-like design is covered in the slip-trailed design on the jug's front. This outstanding recent discovery is closely-related to two other pieces carrying Adam States attributions. The first is a miniature jug, sold in our March 5, 2011 auction, which lacks the incised lettering and scrolled handle, but shares a similar form and cobalt decoration. The second is a small spouted vessel, similarly-decorated and also featuring a distinctive scrolled handle, bearing the inscription, "Elizabeth States her pot", along with incised initials "E+SAS". It is believed that States made the spouted pot for his wife, Elizabeth, between 1743 and 1746, while active in Manhattan, NY. States later established a long-standing pottery in Greenwich, CT, which was managed upon his death in the 1760s by an apprentice, Abraham Mead (Goldberg, Warwick, and Warwick, Ceramics in America 2008, p. 35). Today, Mead is recognized among scholars as one of the most skilled and well-documented 18th century American stoneware potters. His work often employed watchspring motifs emanating from a vessel's handle terminals, as found on the few surviving Adam States pieces, including this jug. This jug is important on a number of levels, beyond its wonderful size and strong decorative appeal. Based on its clear link to the Elizabeth States pouring vessel, it can be considered one of the earliest intact pieces of American stoneware known. The idea that this work possibly predates the watchspring pieces of Captain James Morgan and Abraham Mead by thirty to fifty years is remarkable. Its delicately-scrolled handle serves as a key link, not only to the inscribed States pot, but also to stoneware products of the Old World. Establishing a clear connection between the European stoneware tradition and pieces produced in America by immigrant potting families is often a difficult one. This jug's scrolled handle, however, reveals the strong influence of 18th century Westerwald stoneware. This consignment, along with the example sold in March 5, 2011, are two of the smallest intact 18th century stoneware products recorded. The incised signature, "S+", on this piece, no doubt referring to "States", also makes it one of the earliest examples of intact American stoneware bearing any form of signature. Provenance: Recently discovered in New Jersey. Literature: For more information on Adams States and related 18th century stoneware potters, see Goldberg, Warwick, and Warwick, "The Eighteenth-Century New Jersey Stoneware Potteries of Captain James Morgan and the Kemple Family," Ceramics in America 2008, pp. 33-35. This jug survives in remarkable, essentially as-made condition. H 4 1/4".

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