Exceptional Stoneware "Beer" Cooler with Elaborate Slip-Trailed Floral Decoration

Summer 2020 Stoneware Auction

Lot #: 37

Price Realized: $7,200.00

($6,000 hammer, plus 20% buyer's premium)

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Auction Highlight:  Summer 2020 Auction | Ohio & Midwest

Summer 2020 Auction Catalog

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Outstanding Three-Gallon Stoneware Beer Cooler with Profuse Cobalt Flowering Urn Decoration, Mid-Atlantic or Ohio River Valley origin, circa 1830, ovoid form with two open handles, tooling to shoulder and spout, and circular bunghole, extravagantly-decorated on the front and sides with a slip-trailed flowering plant emanating from an urn at the bunghole. Two additional flowering urn motifs appears to the left and right. The shoulder is inscribed "BEER." in slip-trailed cobalt and the reverse also features the word, "Beer," in large cursive script. A lighter-colored area at the shoulder reveals the faint word, "POP," which was slip-trailed and then scraped off as the potter changed his mind on the cooler's use. Slip-trailed line decoration additionally surrounds the bunghole, spans the length of the handles, and decorates the handle terminals. This cooler's extravagant slip work indicates it was decorated by a Baltimore-trained potter working in the Mid-Atlantic area or after traveling westward as several Baltimore and District of Columbia area potters did. Coupled with its classic "rib cage" style slip-trailing (so reminiscent of Baltimore and even Alexandria stoneware traditions) is a refined, doubled-handled cooler form, indicating a skilled craftsman. This water cooler is the first of its kind that we have seen potted, decorated, and inscribed in this manner. Its darker-colored clay offers several intriguing possibilities as to its origin. One handle professionally-restored. Otherwise excellent condition with minor base chips. H 16".



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