Exceptional Ezra White, Mercer, Pennsylvania Redware Tea Canister, Dated 1846

March 23, 2019 Stoneware Auction

Lot #: 174

Price Realized: $21,240.00

($18,000 hammer, plus 18% buyer's premium)

PLEASE NOTE:  This result is 5 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 23, 2019 Auction Catalog

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Exceptional Four-Sided Redware Tea Canister with Profuse Manganese Slip Decoration, Incised "[Te]a Caniste[r] / Made Sep 2[2] / 1846", attributed to Ezra White, Mercer, Mercer County, PA, 1846, wheel-thrown form with rounded spout and shoulder, fashioned with four flattened sides with canted corners, decorated on all four sides with different brushed-manganese designs of a flowering plant, two sides incorporating an urn. Shoulder decorated with brushed manganese foliate motifs. Surface covered in a clear lead glaze over a vivid, bright-orange ground. Underside incised "[Te]a Caniste[r] / Made Sep 2[2] / 1846". A closely-related example was sold at Sotheby's, Visual Grace: Important American Folk Art from the Collection of Ralph O. Esmerian, January, 25, 2014, lot 512. The complete inscription on the underside of the Esmerian tea canister allows us to extrapolate the few missing characters on the underside of this example. The two canisters' identical forms, inscriptions, and nearly identical decorations, indicate they were likely made as a pair and separated years ago. A second, less-elaborate pair, dated 1848, are owned by Colonial Williamsburg and include the potter's signature, "E. White", on their undersides. The canister to be auctioned, an extremely rare form with exuberant decoration in the Pennsylvania-German style, is regarded as a remarkable recent discovery in American slip-decorated redware. Provenance: A recently-surfaced example, consigned by a California resident who purchased it in a Punxsutawney, PA antiques shop forty years ago. Literature: For a photo of the related tea canister, a probable mate to this example, see American Radiance: The Ralph Esmerian Gift to the American Folk Art Museum, p. 135, fig. 95A. Excellent condition with a shallow flake to interior of spout, minor spout wear, other minor edge wear, and a minor 5/16" flake or in-the-firing contact mark to shoulder. H 7 3/4".

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