Exceptional and Important 18th Century Stoneware Watchspring Jar, probably Cheesequake, New Jersey

Spring 2022 Stoneware Auction

Lot #: 101

Price Realized: $3,360.00

($2,800 hammer, plus 20% buyer's premium)

PLEASE NOTE:  This result is 2 years old, and the American ceramics market frequently changes. Additionally, small nuances of color, condition, shape, etc. can mean huge differences in price. If you're interested in having us sell a similar item for you, please contact us here.

Auction Highlight:  Spring 2022 Auction | New Jersey Stoneware

Spring 2022 Auction Catalog

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Exceptional Three-Gallon Vertical-Handled Stoneware Jar with Bold Cobalt Watchspring Decoration, probably Cheesequake, NJ origin, circa 1775, ovoid jar with footed base, heavily-tooled shoulder, and ribbed vertical handles, decorated on the front and reverse with a large slip-trailed watchspring motif accented with tassel-shaped strokes. This outstanding jar features a classic early form and is considered the most brilliantly-colored example of watchspring-decorated stoneware we have offered. The evenly-fired, light-gray clay forms a striking contrast to the crisp, dark cobalt decoration. Most notable, however, about this jar is its decoration's extreme similarity to that seen on fragments excavated at Capt. James Morgan's Cheesequake pottery site by New Jersey stoneware researcher, Robert J. Sim around the early 1940's. One such fragment that seems related to this jar is a jug top inscribed "Liberty / 1776." While watchspring-decorated examples are typically attributed to Morgan's Cheesequake shop, out of all of those we have sold, this example lines up best with the American Revolutionary period wasters Sim found. Its fine slip-trailed decoration is most reminiscent of inscribed or otherwise attributed products of colonial American potter Adam Staats / States, who in the 1740's worked with the Crolius and Corselius families in Manhattan before founding his own shop in Greenwich, Connecticut. Based on the groundbreaking research put forth in "The Eighteenth-Century New Jersey Stoneware Potteries of Captain James Morgan and the Kemple Family" by Arthur Goldberg, Peter Warwick and Leslie Warwick in Ceramics in American 2008, it is likely that Staats' son, Mathias--who served in Captain Morgan's company in the Revolutionary War and later appears in South Amboy tax listings in the 1780's--was responsible for this jar along with the previously noted excavated fragments. A highly important example of colonial American stoneware. A 3 1/2" x 1 3/8" in-the-firing loss to edge of base, connected to a long shallow, in-the-firing loss to base. (The above damage was likely caused when the base adhered to a piece of kiln furniture or other jar during the firing.) A 1 1/4" glazed-over chip to base and other smaller chips to base and underside, most or all of which appears to be in-the-firing. A few typical in-the-firing chips/contact marks to surface. A 2 1/4" crack on underside, continuing 7 1/2" up body of jar. Other tight lines to surface, not visible on interior. Rim is somewhat out-of-round. H 14".

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