The Finest Known Work by John Remmey III: Presentation Jug for Family Friend James Votey

Spring 2022 Stoneware Auction

Lot #: 100

Estimate: $15,000-$30,000.A Note About Estimates

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Spring 2022 Auction Catalog

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Sold!  $15,000.


Exceptional One-Gallon Stoneware Presentation Jug, Inscribed "James / Votey / 1806" and "Wine," Stamped "J. REMMEY / MANHATTAN-WELLS / NEW-YORK," John Remmey III, Manhattan, NY, 1806, ovoid jug with heavily-tooled spout and footed base, featuring the incised-and-cobalt-highlighted script inscription, "James Votey / 1806," on the left side, flanked by a scalloped border. Right side of jug incised with cobalt-highlighted script inscription, "Wine," indicating the jug's use, underscored by graduated lines. Front of jug impressed with the cobalt-highlighted maker's mark of John Remmey III, surrounded by an incised and cobalt-highlighted border. Brushed cobalt highlights to handle terminals. This jug is the only impressed presentation piece that we have seen by any of the four Manhattan potters known to stamp their wares with a maker's mark (Clarkson Crolius, Sr., John Remmey III, Thomas Commeraw, and David Morgan). Made as the personal wine jug of James Votey, a documented associate of John Remmey III, this work features a desirable one-gallon size and unusual, rotund form, which showcases Remmey's potting abilities. Its 1806 date serves as a "rosetta stone" for dating other John Remmey III pieces bearing the same mark, as no other dated examples of Remmey's work are known. Like John Remmey and Clarkson Crolius, Sr., James Votey was a minor local politician, serving as tax assessor and fire warden for the Fifth Ward and heavily involved in Democratic-Republican Party politics (the party of all four of the aforementioned potters). In 1808, Votey came to the aid of Henry Remmey, Sr. by paying $400 (no small sum) to the city to extricate him from a financial scandal. Remmey had a significant shortfall in funds he was supposed to remit to the city for manure he had sold as the city's Superintendent of Scavengers. Remmey claimed the vouchers for this money were stolen in a robbery of his "large double drawer," but was unable to make up the difference due to the "distressed state" of his "large and helpless family." (Henry Remmey, of course, would a few years later move to Baltimore and completely transform the Mid-Atlantic stoneware industry.) It is clear that James Votey was a very close friend of the Remmey family. Based on Remmey's familiarity with Votey, we feel confident that this jug was potted and inscribed by Remmey himself and not by another worker at his pottery. The unusually deep and wide incising features fine penmanship with a wonderful flourish on the "W" in "Wine." The finest work known bearing a John Remmey III maker's mark. Base chips. A 2" x 1/2" reglued sliver on underside. Typical, small in-the-firing flaws to surface. H 11 1/4".



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