Exceptional Redware Face Jug Dated Oct. 5, 1844, Northeastern origin, possibly NJ

Summer 2021 Stoneware Auction

Lot #: 97

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

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Summer 2021 Auction Catalog

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Sold!  $23,000. 
(With 20% buyer's premium: $27,600.)


Exceedingly Rare and Important Glazed Redware Face Jug, Northeastern U.S. origin, possibly NJ, Dated Twice "Oct. 5. 1844," ovoid jug with footed base and rounded spout, decorated with a hand-molded and applied clay face including semi-lunate forehead, eyes with raised pupils, nose with pierced nostrils, large C-scroll ears, sideburns, and an open mouth with teeth. Incised crosshatching to the top of the forehead and along the sideburns simulates hair. Surface covered in a mottled, reddish-brown lead-and-manganese glaze. Left side and underside of jug incised with the date, "Oct. 5 / 1844." Of interesting note is the use of kaolin to produce the eyes and teeth. For the eyes, kaolin is applied in a thin veneer or as a slip, then overlain with depressed circular beads made from the jug's red clay to form the pupils. For the teeth, kaolin is applied in a large, crescent-shaped slab and incised- a treatment closely-related to that used in the manufacture of stoneware face jugs in 19th century Edgefield, South Carolina. This work belongs to a small group of manganese-glazed redware face jugs with yellow eyes and teeth, all of related Northeastern U.S. origin. The specific origin of this group is currently a mystery. Similarities between this jug's form and that of other utilitarian jugs produced at the Thorn Pottery of Crosswicks, NJ, offer one possibility as to their maker, especially when considering the jug's provenance. It was originally owned by a woman from Morristown, New Jersey, located sixty-three miles north of Crosswicks. Defined by its delicate, expressive modeling and exemplary condition this object is arguably the finest of the related group, as well as one of the greatest American redware face vessels known. Provenance: Descended from Hannah Amelia Wetmore nee Brookfield (d. 1897) of Morristown, New Jersey to her daughter Carolin Wetmore (1865-1956) of Warren, Pennsylvania; donated by Carolin Wetmore's son to the Bethel Historical Society, Bethel, ME; deaccessioned in 2011; Thomaston Auction. Carolin Wetmore had stated that "since childhood [she] had always remembered that the jug stood in the kitchen of her mother's home in Warren." Excellent condition, remarkable considering the medium and applied features, with very minor surface wear, some tiny nicks to the teeth, one nick to the upper lip, and minor wear to lids of one eye. H 6 1/2".



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