Exceedingly Rare and Important Four-Gallon Stoneware Jar with Cobalt Sailing Ship and Flag Motifs, Baltimore, MD origin, circa 1840

Fall 2020 Stoneware Auction

Lot #: 113A

Estimate: $8,000-$12,000.  A Note About Estimates

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Fall 2020 Auction Catalog

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Exceedingly Rare and Important Four-Gallon Stoneware Jar with Cobalt Sailing Ship and Flag Motifs, Baltimore, MD origin, circa 1840, ovoid jar with tooled shoulder, squared rim, and applied lug handles, decorated with a large brushed design of a sailing ship with waving pennant. The hull is decorated with a series of spots representing gun ports or portholes. Reverse decorated with a spotted and striped flag or pennant emanating from a flowering garland extending from handle to handle. The decoration on the reverse likely depicts a closer view of the pennant flying from the ship on the front, probably representing a United States Navy commissioning pennant. Commissioning pennants were given to any ship commissioned by a given country's navy and flew the colors of the nation they represented. Once a commissioning pennant was hoisted, its entry into active naval service began. Typical U.S. Navy commissioning pennants featured a series of white-on-navy stars followed by a series of red-and-white stripes. The jar's reverse is additionally decorated with six vertically-brushed cobalt slash marks, reminiscent of the gallon markings on Edgefield, South Carolina stoneware, appear at the shoulder. In this case, the meaning of the markings is unknown, as the jar measures four gallons and is marked as such under one handle. Cobalt highlights to handle terminals with a curved line of cobalt extending from terminal to terminal under one handle. Excellent color, featuring dark, crisp cobalt against distinctive light-gray Baltimore clay. To date, only four other pieces of 19th century Southern stoneware featuring ship decorations have been documented. Two of this group also originate from Baltimore, one being an incised ship jar with related floral motif, attributed to Elisha Parr, and currently on display at the William C. and Susan S. Mariner Southern Ceramics Gallery at the Museum of Early Southern Decorative Arts in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Among the most outstanding examples of regional stoneware to come to market in recent years. Provenance: A recently-surfaced work. Excellent condition with a shallow chip to one handle and a shallow in-the-firing chip to opposite handle (which is glazed over). H 15".



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