Extremely Rare and Important BOONVILLE (Missouri) / 1832 Stoneware Jar w/ Elaborate Federal Eagle Design

Fall 2021 Stoneware Auction

Lot #: 108

Estimate: $6,000-$10,000.  A Note About Estimates

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Fall 2021 Auction Catalog

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Sold!  $30,000. 


Exceedingly Rare and Important Large-Sized Stoneware Jar with Cobalt Federal Eagle Decoration, Dated 1832, Stamped "BOONVILLE," Boonville, MO origin, 1832, approximately eight-gallon, rotund jar with arching tab handles and semi-squared rim. Front decorated with a brushed design of a Federal eagle with shield across its chest, its talons clutching olive branches and arrows, including the date, "1832," brushed below. Surface of handles brushed completely with cobalt. Impressed "BOONVILLE" at the shoulder, referring to the town of Boonville, Missouri. This monumental jar is set apart from the majority of surviving Missouri stoneware pieces, which are simply decorated, often featuring Albany slip glazing, and date to several decades later. According to The Arts and Architecture of German Settlements in Missouri ... by Charles Van Ravenswaay, the Boonville stoneware pottery was founded by Rockbridge County, Virginia native, Marcus Williams; Williams started the venture "some time before 1833, which he advertised in that year was producing "pitchers, crocks, jars, pans, churns, &c.'" Williams' Rockbridge County origin is evident in decoration of this jar and, to some extent, the form. A small number of highly important Rockbridge County stoneware pieces exist bearing patriotic eagle decorations. The Rockbridge County school of stoneware pottery, within which this piece was made, was founded by John Morgan, a Manhattan stoneware potter and possible associate of free African-American potter, Thomas Commeraw, who settled in Rockbridge County sometime, circa 1815-25. This jar was likely produced by Williams shortly after his arrival in Boonville and likely served as a display piece exhibiting the quality of his ware. The impressive size of the vessel, its highly unusual maker's mark, and outstanding decoration all translate to a South-central U.S. stoneware object of great importance- a historic "document in clay," believed to be the earliest signed and dated example of Missouri-made pottery known. Small chip to one handle and two small chips to opposite handle. Base chips. Small nick on top of rim. 2 1/4" faint surface line on underside, continuing 3 1/4" up base of jar, both not visible on interior. H 17".



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