Exceedingly Rare and Important Anna Pottery Stoneware Temperance Jug, circa 1862

Summer 2020 Stoneware Auction

Lot #: 84

Price Realized: $72,000.00

($60,000 hammer, plus 20% buyer's premium)

PLEASE NOTE:  This result is 4 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.

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Summer 2020 Auction Catalog

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Exceedingly Rare and Important Anna Pottery Stoneware Temperance Jug, attributed to Wallace and Cornwall Kirkpatrick, Anna, IL, circa 1862, ovoid jug with tall neck, squared spout, and profuse cross-hatched incising to surface, decorated with hand-modeled and molded figural motifs throughout. Three hand-modeled snakes decorate the vessel, one in the form of the handle, extending through the neck of the jug and attempting to devour a man whose head, arms, and legs protrude through the body of the vessel. A second snake extends through the neck of the jug, coiling itself around the larger snake handle and peering beside the spout of the jug, its gaping mouth bearing incised teeth. A third snake extends through the base of the jug and exits on the jug's opposite side, curving around the bottom of the snake handle. Two small frogs with ball-shaped eyes are seated atop and beside two of the snakes. The tortured figure of a man, also hand-modeled, features life-like sculpting rarely seen in American stoneware, including an open mouth with teeth and protruding tongue. A second tortured man, encased even deeper inside the jug so that only his face is exposed, appears to the right. Two applied figures appear on the opposite side of the jug, one with his head and right arm plunged within the jug and his left arm bracing his body against the wall of the jug. The second figure has ventured further, with his entire torso hidden. Both figures feature fine sculpting, including incised seam lines and wrinkles to the upper figure's coat and pants, and incised seam lines and buttons to the coat of the second figure. Dominating most of one side of the jug is a molded and applied design of a bearded man in classical dress attacked by two rampant lions. This image, known among scholars as the Daniel-in-the-Lion's-Den motif, is one of the more recognizable in American utilitarian pottery. It appears on a cooler designed by English mold maker, Charles Coxon, for the Edwin and William Bennett Pottery of Baltimore, Maryland from the mid 19th century. The design was later used on Bell family redware from Waynesboro, Pennsylvania and Strasburg, Virginia, indicating the molds had been purchased from the Bennetts or copied from an existing piece. It has also been documented on a stoneware water cooler made by Justus Morton in Brantford, Ontario, Canada, during the mid 19th century, an American-trained potter who had previously worked in Baltimore, Maryland, and Lyons, New York. The detail of the molding of this design greatly surpasses that seen on its Bell and Morton counterparts, and even includes hand-incised embellishments. Other molded and applied designs include Diana the huntress with stag, a siren in classical dress with lyre, and the bust of an English Toby smoking a pipe and holding a cup. The latter two motifs are also depicted on the aforementioned Morton cooler, suggesting some connection between Morton and the Kirkpatrick brothers. The jug's rare, original stopper, typically lost on Anna examples, is sculpted in the form of a goateed man's head. Pairing hand-modeled snakes, frogs, and human figures with allegorical, molded designs, this temperance jug teems with vitality and emotion. Its high-relief figural motifs set against a dramatically-incised surface create a highly-tactile and complex work. The Kirkpatricks' preoccupation with detail is evidenced in this tedious cross-hatching, the incised accents added to the molded decoration, the heavily-impressed scales of the snakes, and the lifelike sculpting of the tortured figures. The style of the snakes and frogs relate this jug to two signed Anna Pottery temperance jugs: the famous "Camp DuBois /1862" temperance jug depicting a Civil War saloon brawl as well as a second temperance jug with Civil War soldier and molded designs, sold as lot 19 in Crocker Farm's March 1, 2014 auction. Both are particularly early works, indicating this jug was made during the same period. The temperance jugs of Wallace and Cornwall Kirkpatrick are regarded among the most iconic and visually-striking works in all of American-made ceramics. The idea that such creations were part-utilitarian and made by stoneware potters without academic training is truly remarkable. As with face jugs by various Southern, Mid-Atlantic, and Midwestern potters and the works of the enslaved potter Dave, the Kirkpatricks' temperance jugs truly transcend the medium. The discovery of a previously-undocumented example of this form is noteworthy as most have either been photographed in publications or catalogued in museum collections. Our Summer 2020 auction offers the rare opportunity to acquire a Kirkpatrick temperance jug that has, until now, been unknown to the greater community of Anna Pottery collectors and scholars. Provenance: A fresh-to-the-market example, which surfaced in California in the early 1980s and acquired by the consignor at that time. Strong condition for a form that is often found with significant damage. Loss to snout of one snake. Chips to one sculpted figure's nose. Small spout chips. Loss to coattails and large chip to left foot of one sculpted figure. A chip to right foot of other figure below. Other minor chips. Chips to stopper. H (excluding stopper) 12".

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