Outstanding T.W. CRAVEN (North Carolina) Stoneware Jar with Cobalt "1854" Date and Impressed Federal Eagle Decoration

Summer 2020 Stoneware Auction

Lot #: 14

Price Realized: $4,200.00

($3,500 hammer, plus 20% buyer's premium)

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Auction Highlight:  Summer 2020 Auction | Southern Pottery

Summer 2020 Auction Catalog

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Outstanding Five-Gallon Stoneware Jar with Cobalt "1854" Date and Impressed Federal Eagle Decoration, Stamped "T.W. CRAVEN," Thomas Wesley Craven (1829-1858), Randolph or Moore County, NC, 1854, ovoid jar with flattened rim and applied strap handles with depressed terminals, decorated with the large brushed date, "1854," below a freehand wavy stripe. Haphazardly-placed cobalt spots appear around the stripe and date. Reverse decorated at the shoulder with a freehand cobalt stripe, overlain with a visually-appealing ash run. Handles brushed over with cobalt. Area below left handle features daubs of cobalt, an impressed Masonic symbol, and the impressed maker's mark "T W CRAVEN," underscored by a series of cobalt squares, applied with some sort of stamp or stencil. This side of the jar is further decorated with an impressed and cobalt-highlighted design of a Federal eagle, a motif rarely found on any Southern-made stoneware. The bird's typical olive branches and arrows are replaced with coggled dentile designs, related to those seen on various Craven family pieces. The area below the right handle includes brushed daubs of cobalt and an impressed five-gallon capacity mark. Relatively few cobalt-decorated stoneware pieces were made in North Carolina during the 19th century and extremely few feature a large date in this manner. The jar's formidable size and elaborate use of brushed-cobalt and stamped decorations indicate it was likely made for display, as a gift, or to commemorate a specific event. Thomas Wesley Craven was the brother of the more-well-known Jacob Dorris Craven (1827-1895), whose stoneware is found with frequency. T.W. Craven's stoneware is considered scarce as this member of the family potting dynasty only lived to the age of twenty-nine. This jar is evidence of the young potter's abilities and ranks among the very best examples of his work known. Literature: For more information on T.W. Craven, see Scarborough, The Craven Family of Southern Folk Pottery, pp. 45-46. For three pieces of related cobalt-decorated stoneware by Craven and his brothers, see Scarborough, p. 71. Provenance: A fresh-to-the-market example, which recently surfaced in North Carolina. A thin 4" crack from rim on front. A 6 1/2" crack from rim on reverse. A 1 7/8" hairline from rim above left handle. A long, thin X-shaped surface line to base, extending a short distance onto underside, which does not appear to go through to the interior. A 1 1/8" chip to underside at edge, possibly in-the-making. A minor base nick. A tiny rim nick. H 15".



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