Extremely Rare SAM'L. I. IRVINE / NEWVILLE, PA Monumental Stoneware Water Cooler, Bear's Head Spout

July 20, 2019 Stoneware Auction

Lot #: 151

Estimate: $8,000-$12,000  A Note About Estimates

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July 20, 2019 Auction Catalog

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Extremely Rare Six-Gallon Cobalt-Decorated Stoneware Water Cooler with Bear's Head Spout, Stamped "SAM'L. I. IRVINE / NEWVILLE, PA," circa 1865, highly-ovoid cooler with tooled shoulder, semi-squared rim, and twisted-rope handles, the spout hand-modeled in the form of a large bear's head with open mouth, applied ears, and heavy cobalt highlights. Bear's head features incised details reminiscent of the work of Pennsylvania redware animal modelers, including heavily-incised fur to the head, upper lip, and ears, as well as incised elliptical eyes and eyebrows. Front of cooler decorated with a brushed wreath surrounding a leaf, flanked by four small foliate devices. Collar decorated with cobalt swags, and handles profusely-decorated with cobalt spots throughout and highlights at the terminals. Front impressed with the cobalt-highlighted mark of Newville, Pennsylvania pottery owner, Samuel I. Irvine. The cooler form itself is extremely rare for this desirable maker, and would make this object among the most important examples of Newville, Pennsylvania stoneware known. The addition of a hand-modeled bear-form spigot raises this object to a higher level of importance. The spigot, in essence, acts as a work of folk sculpture. While seen in American redware with frequency, sculpture work of this quality is highly unusual in American stoneware. Provenance: Bought by its current owner in 1954 for $17. Heavy chipping at base reveals this cooler was originally made with an attached pedestal base. However, the existence of salt glaze on the underside suggests that the base may have been unstable and lost during the firing. 4 1/2" crack on reverse. 1 1/2" rim chip above one handle. Small chip to opposite handle. H 16 1/2".


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