Important Presentation Cooler w/ Elaborate Incised Ship Design, attrib. Abial Price, South Amboy, NJ, Dated 1839

Fall 2020 Stoneware Auction

Lot #: 1

Estimate: $80,000-$120,000.  A Note About Estimates

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Fall 2020 Auction Catalog

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Outstanding and Important Four-Gallon Stoneware Presentation Cooler with Incised Ship Decoration, Inscribed "John B. Wilson" and Dated "1839," attributed to Abial Price, South Amboy, New Jersey, 1839, ovoid jug with semi-rounded spout, heavily-tooled shoulder, ribbed handles, and squared bunghole, decorated with a large incised and cobalt-highlighted sailing ship featuring three masts bearing large sails and three pennants, the bow with scrolled embellishment and bowsprit holding three smaller sails, the hull with eleven portholes, and stern with two portholes. Heavily incised waves, also highlighted in cobalt, appear below. Bunghole incised with cobalt-highlighted date, "1839." Side of cooler incised with the cobalt-highlighted name, "John B. Wilson." Reverse decorated with a distinctive brushed design of a tulip emanating from wreath-shaped leaves, characteristic of the work of the New Jersey-trained potter, Abial Price, underscored by a highly unusual band of overlapping circles, accented with spots. Striped decoration to handles and cobalt highlights to handle terminals. This work features one of the finest renderings of a sailing ship in American-made ceramics, noteworthy in its size and detail. The incised decoration, spanning an impressive 9 1/4" tall by 12" long, includes intricate and accurate features throughout, including exceptionally-deep carving to the vessel's sails and sawtoothed embellishments to the gunwale. This maritime masterwork is easily the finest example of New Jersey stoneware that we have ever offered and among the finest surviving works from a state integral in the development of the American salt-glazed stoneware tradition. Provenance: Ex-Leigh Keno, New York, NY. Surface cracks to shoulder on reverse, including a surface line extending to the spout and a surface line extending to the top surface of one handle. Some of the surface cracks extend onto the upper shoulder of the cooler's front, where they become fainter. Two in-the-firing contact marks to front. H 16 1/2".



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