Extremely Rare Stoneware Inkwell att. Solomon Bell, Strasburg, VA

March 23, 2019 Stoneware Auction

Lot #: 319

Price Realized: $4,425.00

($3,750 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. If you're interested in having us sell a similar item for you, please contact us here.

Auction Highlight:  March 23, 2019 Auction | Shenandoah Pottery

March 23, 2019 Auction Catalog

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Extremely Rare Shenandoah Valley Manganese-Decorated Stoneware Inkwell, attributed to Solomon Bell, Strasburg, VA, circa 1875, wide-based, semi-ovoid form with inwardly-tapered shoulder and flared rim. Surface dipped in a light-colored slip and heavily-decorated with a series of brushed purplish-brown manganese swags. Likely modeled after glass examples of the 19th century, this inkwell is the first stoneware example made by a member of the Bell family that we have seen. The piece's distinctive color and manganese-over-white-slip decoration lead to a firm attribution to Shenandoah Valley master potter, Solomon Bell. Traces of blackish powdered ink on the interior base corroborate its use as an inkwell. The inkwell form remains one of the more desirable 19th century American stoneware vessel types. While a few potters, such as New York's Clarkson Crolius, Sr. and Nathan Clark, Sr., made inkwells on a regular basis, this form was typically not a standard production item. Inscribed examples indicate many were made as specially-ordered or gifted presentation pieces. Given the extreme paucity of Shenandoah Valley stoneware inkwells surviving today, it is likely that this example was one such specially-made object. Among the most significant Bell family stoneware discoveries of recent years. Very nice condition with some in-the-firing crazing to underside, continuing onto base area. H 3 3/4" ; Diameter (at base) 3 1/8".

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