Rare Miniature Swank Pottery (Johnstown, PA) Stoneware Jug by William Lohr

October 28, 2017 Stoneware Auction

Lot #: 302

Price Realized: $1,770.00

($1,500 hammer, plus 18% buyer's premium)

PLEASE NOTE:  This result is 3 years old, and the American ceramics market frequently changes. Additionally, small nuances of color, condition, shape, etc. can mean huge differences in price. Please Contact Us for a Current, Accurate assessment of your items.

October 28, 2017 Auction Catalog

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Rare Miniature Stoneware Jug, Inscribed "Shawley / Westmoreland", Signed "July 1 1885 / maid By / Wm Lohr", Somerset County, PA origin, 1885, squat-shaped, diminutive jug with semi-rounded spout, the front incised "Shawley / Westmoreland", the underside with the incised date and signature, "July 1 1885 / maid by / Wm Lohr". Schaltenbrand, in Big Ware Turners, summarizes William Lohr as follows: "[U]ncommon are stoneware articles credited to William Lohr, a potter who probably worked around Johnstown, possible (sic) at the Hamilton and Pershing factory in the 1850s. Very rare objects (including unfired shards) suggest Lore tried potting on his own for a time. Pieces marked with a distinctive L are attributed to this potter." William Lohr was born in 1834 in Somerset County, Pennsylvania, and by 1850 was living in the household of important southwestern Pennsylvania potter, Josiah Swank, in the Johnstown area. While Swank and his family would later become famous for their prolific stoneware shops, at this time he was still producing earthenware, and it was this lead-glazed pottery that Lohr would have been making there. By 1860, Lohr was working in Derry, Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania, where he may have still been making redware--though Schaltenbrand hypothesizes that he could have been making stoneware by this time. At any rate, according to the Johnstown Area Heritage Assocation's Swank pottery study, by 1862 Lohr had returned to Johnstown and begun making stoneware with the brothers of his former apprentice--Hiram and Jacob Swank. Lohr would remain in Johnstown until his death in 1906, appearing in the 1870, 1880 and 1900 censuses (the 1890 census is essentially destroyed) as a potter living in that city. There appears to be some strong relationship between the Lohr and Swank families, with at least two relatives of William Lohr marrying non-potting Swank family members. The name "Shawley / Westmoreland" refers to some member of the large Shawley family of Westmoreland County, predominantly farmers and laborers. Given that we have been unable to find a store, distillery, etc. operated by a Shawley family member during this time period, this was likely a personal drinking vessel, given as a present from Lohr to a friend, one he likely made during his time spent previously in Westmoreland County. Excellent, essentially as-made condition. H 3 3/4".


Rare Miniature Swank Pottery (Johnstown, PA) Stoneware Jug by William LohrRare Miniature Swank Pottery (Johnstown, PA) Stoneware Jug by William LohrRare Miniature Swank Pottery (Johnstown, PA) Stoneware Jug by William LohrRare Miniature Swank Pottery (Johnstown, PA) Stoneware Jug by William LohrRare Miniature Swank Pottery (Johnstown, PA) Stoneware Jug by William Lohr

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Bidding is now closed.
(Our next auction takes place March 21, 2020.)

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