Extremely Rare Stoneware Jug w/ Elaborate Iron Floral Decoration, probably John Swann, Maysville, Kentucky

Fall 2021 Stoneware Auction

Lot #: 247

Price Realized: $2,160.00

($1,800 hammer, plus 20% buyer's premium)

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Fall 2021 Auction Catalog

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Extremely Rare Two-Gallon Stoneware Jug with Elaborate Iron Floral Decoration, probably John Swann, Maysville, KY, circa 1830, highly-ovoid jug with tooled spout and ribbed strap handle, decorated in iron-oxide slip with a boldly-brushed floral motif in the Alexandria, Virginia style. This distinctive motif was invented circa 1820 by Alexandria potter, John Swann, and would continue to be used in that city. Reverse with iron slip foliate device below the handle. Iron slip highlight to lower handle terminal. Shoulder incised "2" on reverse, denoting two gallons. This exuberantly-decorated jug features an unusual handle construction, incised (as opposed to stamped) "2," and use of iron slip to create the jug's floral motif, all details atypical of Alexandria, Virginia stoneware. The decoration, however, clearly-executed by an Alexandria potter, leads to the conclusion that this vessel was likely made by John Swann during his tenure in Maysville, Kentucky, shortly after leaving Alexandria. (According to Brenda Hornsby Heindl in her 2016 MESDA Conference lecture, "Eastern Connections: Early Stoneware in Northern Kentucky," John Swann traveled to Maysville in the mid-1820's and was active there at least into the early 1830's.) Swann's potting style is evidenced in the products of early Maysville stoneware manufactories. This jug, however, if truly Maysville in origin, is the first piece of stoneware that we have seen documenting the westward migration of Swann's distinctive brushed decoration, one that would become synonymous with Alexandria stoneware production. Provenance: Descended in a Kansas City, Missouri family. A large network of cracks to left side of jug. Heavy chipping to base. A minor, glazed-over chip to side of handle. H 12 3/4".

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