Exceedingly Rare & Important Rochester, NY Slip-Trailed Lion Water Cooler

Spring 2021 Stoneware Auction

Lot #: 110

Estimate: $15,000-$25,000.  A Note About Estimates

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Spring 2021 Auction Catalog

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Sold!  $27000. 


Exceedingly Rare and Important Three-Gallon Stoneware Cooler with Elaborate Slip-Trailed Lion Decoration, Burger or Stetzenmeyer Potteries, Rochester, NY origin, third quarter 19th century, ovoid, jug-form cooler with wide-mouthed opening, circular bunghole, and two open handles applied at the shoulder, decorated with a large slip-trailed design of a lion with elaborate mane and heavily-spotted body, striding atop a well-detailed ground with flowers. Slip-trailed script "3" above lion. Bunghole surrounded by a circular design of conjoined ovals radiating from the opening. This phenomenal work, melding the most desirable stoneware form with the most iconic stoneware animal decoration, is the only Rochester lion-decorated cooler known. We are unaware of any Rochester coolers in existence with figural designs other than birds. Equally rare and decorative, this vessel also features an over-the-top form previously undocumented in Rochester stoneware coolers. Typical coolers from this city are potted in a jar form. Interestingly, the decoration shares characteristics of both Frederick Stetzenmeyer and John Burger, Jr. potteries. The flat-topped "3" is documented on a number of signed Stetzenmeyer pieces and the ground cover appears more closely-related to those seen on various animal designs from this pottery. However, the lion's goateed face and the style of decoration at the bunghole connect this piece to signed examples produced at the Burger pottery. The vessel's extraordinary form and wonderful decoration indicate it was likely made as a presentation or specially-ordered piece. The object's lack of signature, highly unusual in Rochester-made stoneware, suggests it may have been made for someone close to, or within, the city's potting community, where a stamp indicating the maker would be unnecessary. Believed to be unique and typifying the high artistic standard of the Rochester stoneware tradition, this work includes outstanding coverage of the lion motif over the vessel's front with relatively little space left undecorated. The combined form and decoration rank this piece among the more noteworthy examples of Rochester stoneware known. Provenance: Ex-Allan Katz Americana, Woodbridge, CT. Spout chips. Areas of fry to cobalt. Minor chips and short lines to bunghole. H 16".



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