Rare and Important "J S 1846" Alabama Stoneware Jar (James Pinckney Shepherd, Rock Mills)

Spring 2020 Stoneware Auction

Lot #: 19

Price Realized: $4,200.00

($3,500 hammer, plus 20% 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:  Spring 2020 Auction | Southern Pottery

Spring 2020 Auction Catalog

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Rare and Important Four-Gallon Open-Handled Stoneware Jar with Alkaline Glaze, Stamped "J S 1846," James Pinckney Shepherd, Rock Mills, Randolph County, AL, 1846, ovoid jar with narrow, flaring mouth and open strap handles, decorated with a streaky, dark alkaline glaze over a metallic brown-glazed ground. Impressed at shoulder with the maker's mark, "J S/ 1846," with reversed "4" in the date, used by James Pinckney Shepherd, at his shop in Rock Mills, Randolph County, Alabama. Pickney's maker's marks feature the highly-unusual inclusion of an impressed date. According to Brackner's Alabama Folk Pottery, Shepherd was born in Georgia or North Carolina in either 1820, 1824, or 1826. He is listed in the U.S. Federal Census as a farmer in 1850, a potter in 1860, and farmer again in 1870, in all three instances as a resident of Rock Mills, Alabama. In 1860, he was living next to the Edgefield, SC-born potter, Samuel Duncan, and possibly worked for him during that period (Brackner, p. 250). Featuring a wonderful tactile glaze, excellent form, and a rare, early-period maker's mark from the Rock Mills school, this jar is the finest Alabama stoneware jar that we have ever offered. The jar's impressed date defines it as one of the earliest dated pieces of Alabama stoneware known. Among the most comparable published pieces by date is a lime-glazed jar of related form, bearing the stamp, "MF," and the brown-slip date, "1859," in the collection of the Birmingham Museum of Art and illustrated in the color plates of Brackner's Folk Pottery of Alabama. A 3 1/2" x 3/4" restored section to rim on front, including an approximately 5 1/2" unrestored hairline descending from it. A thin 8" inverted Y-shaped crack from rim on reverse. A 7/8" chip to reverse side of one handle. A shallow 1" flake to top of rim. Light surface wear. An in-the-firing, slightly-recessed area to front. H 16 1/4".

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