Extremely Rare Miniature Redware Butter Tubs, John Bell Pottery, Waynesboro, Pennsylvania

Fall 2021 Stoneware Auction

Lot #: 308

Price Realized: $240.00

($200 hammer, plus 20% buyer's premium)

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Fall 2021 Auction Catalog

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Extremely Rare Miniature Redware Butter Tubs, John Bell Pottery, Waynesboro, PA, circa 1840-1880, both hand-modeled by children at the John Bell Pottery, composed of Bell's distinctive yellow clay, decorated with manganese, and each covered in clear lead glaze. Both are modeled after Bell's classic, open-handled butter tub form. Probably made by a child within the Bell family or possibly by a school child visiting the pottery. Rice and Stoudt's The Shenandoah Pottery describes Bell's magnanimity towards the children of Waynesboro: "As is the case of the Village Blacksmith in Longfellow's poem, the school children delighted in watching John Bell turn; from a ball of clay there arose before their eyes a jug or vase. Often he would take a small lump of clay and model birds or animals and tell them to return in a week when we would present them with the baked and glazed trinket. John Bell was the organizer of the Lutheran Sunday School in Waynesboro and was the teacher of the Bible class for more than a quarter of a century." (Rice and Stoudt, p. 37.) Needless to say, examples of 19th century American pottery attributable to a child's hand are extremely rare, these examples produced at the shop of one of early America's most important potters. Provenance: Property deaccessioned by the Miller House Museum, Hagerstown, MD. Shorter example in excellent, essentially as-made condition. Taller example lost one handle in manufacture, prior to glazing, also with a flake to remaining handle. Dimensions (of smaller example): 2 1/4" x 2".

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