Outstanding B. C. MILBURN / ALEXA. Stoneware Water Cooler, Alexandria, VA origin

Summer 2021 Stoneware Auction

Lot #: 81

Estimate: $5,000-$8,000.  A Note About Estimates

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Summer 2021 Auction Catalog

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Outstanding Six-Gallon Stoneware Water Cooler with Profuse Slip-Trailed Cobalt Floral Decoration, Stamped "B.C. MILBURN / ALEXA," Alexandria, VA origin, circa 1850, cylindrical form with tooled shoulder, large tab handles, and octagonal bunghole at base. Front lavishly-decorated with a slip-trailed flowering plant emanating from the bunghole, featuring tulips and fern-shaped foliage. Bunghole surrounded by slip-trailed chain links and decorated throughout with spots. Wavy line decoration to rim. Reverse decorated with three tulips around the shoulder, the central tulip executed in a splay-petaled Germanic style. Impressed on front with the maker's mark of Wilkes Street pottery owner, Benedict C. Milburn, above a six-gallon capacity mark. One of less than ten Milburn coolers known, this example is among the potter's finest works. Its refined flowering plant motif, executed in Milburn's highly-prized slip-trailed treatment, is complemented by excellent color and an exceptionally large size to the vessel. Literature: Illustrated and discussed in Wilder, Alexandria Virginia Pottery 1792-1876, p. 287. Cracks throughout underside, some extending up body of cooler to midsection. Some other faint crazing/lines to body. A 4" crack from rim on reverse. A 1 1/4" hairline above right handle. Two in-the-firing rim chips, one of which is glazed-over. A horizontal 5 1/2" crack along top edge of rim. A Y-shaped crack across top of right handle, not visible on underside of handle. An in-the-firing 7/8" flake to below rim on front. A 7/8" base chip and minor base nick to right side of cooler. H 17".

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