Important "AH / 1818" Stoneware Jug attrib. William Nichols (Poughkeepsie / Athens, NY)

Summer 2020 Stoneware Auction

Lot #: 257

Price Realized: $3,480.00

($2,900 hammer, plus 20% buyer's premium)

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Auction Highlight:  Summer 2020 Auction | NY State Stoneware

Summer 2020 Auction Catalog

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Probably Unique Small-Sized Stoneware Jug with Cobalt "Turnip" Decoration, Incised "AH / 1818" Within A Heart, William Nichols at the Nathan Clark Pottery, Athens, NY, 1818, small-sized, ovoid jug with rounded spout, decorated with a brushed, stylized motif resembling a turnip, overlain with an incised design of a heart, inscribed, "A H / 1818," flanked by vines. The incised decoration includes a bird perched on a fence on the jug's right side and a partially-incised bird on the jug's left side. The jug's distinctive "turnip" motif, as described by George Lukacs in his book, Poughkeepsie Potters and the Plague, leads to a firm attribution to William Nichols (1798-1823), the tragically short-lived potter of Athens and Poughkeepsie, NY. According to Lukacs, Nichols apprenticed at the Howe & Clark Pottery of Athens, NY as early as 1813, and continued to work at the same pottery under Nathan Clark's sole proprietorship until 1819. In August of 1819, Nichols traveled to Poughkeepsie, NY to work for potter, Durrell Williams, and established his own pottery there in 1823, for which he has become well-known among collectors. He would die later that year at the age of twenty-five. The date on this jug indicates it was made by Nichols at the Nathan Clark Pottery shortly before his business venture in Poughkeepsie began. Given the initials and date within a heart, one could assume this jug was made as a wedding gift or for someone Nichols had great affection for. It is possible, but unlikely, that the initials, "AH," refer to a member of the Howe family of Athens, as we can find no such person having these initials in our research. To our knowledge, no other hand-inscribed pieces by Nichols are known. Provenance: A fresh-to-the-market example, from a Southeastern U.S. collection. Excellent condition with a kiln scar to right side of jug and a small base chip. H 8 3/4".



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