Extremely Rare Slip-Decorated Redware Pig Bottle, Stamped "D.P. SHENFELDER / READING, PA," circa 1870.

Fall 2020 Stoneware Auction

Lot #: 200A

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

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Fall 2020 Auction Catalog

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Extremely Rare Large-Sized Slip-Decorated Redware Pig Bottle, Stamped "D.P. SHENFELDER / READING, PA," circa 1870, molded bottle in the form of a reclining hog with oval eyes, tusked mouth, and drinking spout at rear, the surface dipped in yellowish slip, decorated with dripped spots of copper and manganese slip, and covered in a clear lead glaze. One side of pig fashioned with a raised oval slab of clay and impressed with the mark of Daniel Peter Shenfelder of Reading, Pennsylvania, the same distinctive stamp commonly used on the potter's well-known stoneware pieces. Interestingly, a 1 1/2 cent postage stamp of Martha Washington, dating circa 1938-1939, is affixed to the front of the bottle, indicating it may have been shipped at some point. Signed Shenfelder redware of any form is considered extremely rare. The only documented example of a Shenfelder pig bottle that we can find in our research is illustrated in the color plate of the Sotheby's catalog for "American Folk Art, Furniture and Related Decorative Arts: The Collection of the Late Pauline Heilman, York, Pennsylvania, July 16 and 17, 1982." Sold as lot 475, the Heilman pig features a different glaze scheme in the form of splashed green and yellowish slip over an orange ground. (A signed Shenfelder redware wall pocket bearing this same splashed or marbled slip application over a yellow-slip ground can be found in the collection of Winterthur Museum, Garden, and Library in Wilmington, Delaware.) The glaze treatment on the newly-discovered pig bottle is convincingly more striking than that found on the Heilman example, as it utilizes a colorful yellowish slip coating that contrasts starkly with the slip spotting. The use of dripping slip to produce spots is uncommon in American redware and likely a creative attempt at mimicking the coat of a spotted breed of pig. Among the rarest and most visually-stunning examples of Pennsylvania figural redware to come to auction in years. Provenance: A recently-surfaced example. Very nice condition with edge wear, two minor surface flakes to pig's back, and an in-the-firing contact mark to opposite side of pig. L 9 1/4".



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