Exceptional and Important HARRINGTON & BURGER / ROCHESTER, NY Stoneware Bird Scene Churn

Fall 2020 Stoneware Auction

Lot #: 2

Estimate: $10,000-$15,000.  A Note About Estimates

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Fall 2020 Auction Catalog

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Exceptional and Important Six-Gallon Stoneware Churn with Cobalt Pheasant-on-Flower Motif, Stamped "HARRINGTON & BURGER/ ROCHESTER," New York State origin, circa 1852-1854, ovoid jar with tooled shoulder, flared collar, and applied lug handles, decorated with a large slip-trailed design of a crested pheasant with turned head, striped body, and long tail, perched on an elaborate daisy plant with spotted blossom. Slip-trailed "6." to shoulder. Cobalt highlights to maker's mark. This work reveals Burger's ability at depicting flora and fauna in a highly-detailed, life-like manner, which surpassed that of all other American stoneware decorators. The pheasant motif is exceedingly rare in Burger's production with only a few pieces decorated with this design known. While the value of this work is obvious in its extravagant slip-trailed design and maker, the rarity of the motif increases the vessel's importance. While other known Burger pheasant motifs depict the bird perched on a branch, this example features it resting atop a flower, a folky inaccuracy in the sizing of the design elements also seen in the work of the Norton family of Bennington, Vermont. Burger produced this piece during the short-lived partnership he maintained with one of New York State's other leading potters, Thompson Harrington. The decoration is unquestionably in Burger's hand. Burger's drawings in cobalt slip are noteworthy in the time it took to produce each one and, as noted, in their high artistic quality, considering his work was made for utilitarian purposes and he had no academic training. Many in his day would be impressed to see a pencil drawing of the level of his work. The fact that he was able to create his images in unforgiving, flowing slip on a rounded vessel (that then need to be fired properly) is remarkable. The verticality and incredible size of the design, measuring 21" tall, nicely complements the piece's large and desirable churn form. Easily the most important example of Rochester stoneware to come to auction in recent years. Provenance: A fresh-to-the-market example, from a recently-surfaced Brooklyn, NY collection. Rim on reverse with a shallow 1 1/8" x 1 1/8" chip and a small chip. Areas of staining from use to surface. A tiny nick and minor flake to interior of rim. H 21".



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