Extremely Rare SOLOMON BELL (Winchester, VA) Cobalt-Decorated Stoneware Pitcher, c1840

November 3, 2018 Stoneware Auction

Lot #: 285

Price Realized: $6,490.00

($5,500 hammer, plus 18% buyer's premium)

PLEASE NOTE:  This result is 4 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.

Auction Highlight:  November 3, 2018 Auction | Shenandoah Pottery

November 3, 2018 Auction Catalog

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Extremely Rare and Important One-Gallon Cobalt-Decorated Stoneware Pitcher, Stamped "SOLOMON BELL", Winchester, VA, circa 1840, ovoid pitcher with footed base, extruded handle, and short collar with heavily-beaded rim. Spout defined with a single finger-and-thumb impression on each side. Surface of pitcher covered in a striking whitish slip, and decorated around the body with a graduated swag design, likely an early iteration of the potter's popular Indian necklace motif. Collar and handle decorated with cobalt stripes. Cobalt highlights to handle terminals. Body lightly-impressed with the rare maker's mark, "SOLOMON BELL", below a one-gallon capacity mark, both of which are partially filled with the pitcher's dipped slip coating. This maker's mark is considered rare, used while Bell was still a young man, in his early twenties working at the shop of his father, Peter, in Winchester, Virginia. (A later variant of this mark would include the location, "STRASBURG, Va.", below it, used after Solomon joined his brother, Samuel, at his pottery in nearby Strasburg. A third, common maker's mark would feature three lines as follows, "SOLOMON BELL / STRASBURG / Va.".) Most of Solomon Bell's Winchester-period stoneware did not utilize a slip coating. This pitcher may be among the earliest documented Bell family stoneware products with this treatment, which would, in later decades, become a hallmark of the Bells' Strasburg and Waynesboro stoneware products. Among the finest examples of early-period Solomon Bell stoneware known, and, to our knowledge, one of only two pitchers with this maker's mark to come to auction in the last fifteen years. Excellent condition with a faint 3 3/4" line on underside, continuing 1 3/4" up base, and an in-the-making stone ping in edge of handle.

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