Outstanding Alabama Stoneware Face Jug Inscribed, "I Love You"

March 24, 2018 Stoneware Auction

Lot #: 20

Price Realized: $2,478.00

($2,100 hammer, plus 18% buyer's premium)

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March 24, 2018 Auction Catalog

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Very Rare Salt-Glazed Stoneware Face Jug, Incised "I Love you", attributed to the Ham Family, Perry County, Alabama, late 19th or early 20th century, cylindrical form in the form of a man's torso with applied spout in rear of head, the figure's head with applied eyes, eyebrows, nose, mouth, chin, and ears. Eyes and teeth formed from broken and applied pieces of china. Face and head include heavily-incised hair, eyebrows, mustache, and goatee. Front of jug incised with the inscription, "I Love you". This recently-discovered work features china-plate eyes and teeth, an incised mustache and goatee, as well as the highly unusual inscription, "I Love you", suggesting it was made as a gift for the potter's sweetheart. Perhaps in a more comical sense, the inscription is a term of endearment for the liquor the jug was designed to hold. The color of the jug's salt-glazed surface and its inscribed front, relate it to an important double-handled face jug, inscribed "Drink my blood / J.C. Ham", which was made by Jesse Calvin Ham (1870-1933) in Perry County, Alabama. The handwriting style and modeling of the face on the "I love you" jug are different than the aforementioned signed work, suggesting it may have been made by one of Jesse's several potter brothers, the sons of Ham pottery patriarch, Robert Solomon "Sol" Ham (1848-1912). A significant recent discovery in the Southern face vessel genre. Provenance: A fresh-to-the-market example, recently discovered in Florida. Missing handle. A few small spout chips. A small chip to one eyebrow. End of nose with in-the-firing wear or possible chip. A minor base nick. H 8 3/4".


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

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