Outstanding Anna Pottery Stoneware Pig Flask w/ Incised Steamboat and Presentation Inscription

Spring 2022 Stoneware Auction

Lot #: 131

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

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Spring 2022 Auction Catalog

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Sold!  $29,000.


Outstanding Anna Pottery Stoneware Presentation Pig Flask with Incised Steamboat, Inscribed "Grayville and New Harmony Packet / Capt Vandergrift Master / makes regular trips on time in a hogs- / 1880," Wallace and Cornwall Kirkpatrick, Anna, IL, 1880, molded flask in the form of a reclining pig with hole at rear, incised face and hooves, and anatomically-correct underside; decorated with a meticulously incised design of a steamboat on a river, depicted with a large flag, two smokestacks, numerous windows, and a paddlewheel emblazoned with the name, "T.F. /FRATER." The incised date, "1880," appears below. Incised above with the inscription, "Grayville and New Harmony Packet / Capt Vandergrift Master / makes regular trips on time in a hogs-". Ending the slogan with the term, "in a hogs," makes the joke that the captain is always running late. The remainder of the is pig incised with a railroad and river map map of the Midwestern U.S., including the following landmarks: St. Louis the future Great in-, Miss River, O & M. R.R., St. L & S.E. R.R., C & V R R, Cairo, Carmi, Grayville, Mt. Carmel, Vincens, Wabash R., mounds, O Riv, and Shawnetown. This flask is the only Anna example that we are aware of depicting an incised image of a steamboat. Only a few Anna Pottery pigs have been documented with drawings of any kind. The style and perspective of the image on this work is closely related to the iconic incised drawings of the Anna Pottery building seen on some of the Kirkpatrick brothers' finest works, including a pig flask in the collection of the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Museum in Williamsburg, Virginia. This example is only the second Anna Pottery piece that we have offered referencing the steamboat industry. (A flask sold in Crocker Farm's March 14, 2015 auction was gifted by the "Steamer Fleetwood" to the Cincinnati Weekly Times.) The flask's owner, "Captain Vandergrift," refers to Lewis F. "Lew" Vandergrift, a steamboat captain from a well-known, prolific Pittsburgh family of steamboaters. Vandergrift was described in the May 8, 1878 issue of the Evansville [Indiana] Journal as "an old time Ohio River commander, now leading a bucolic life in [N]ew Harmony." Vandergrift's boat at this time may have been the "little steamer Reindeer," which he was piloting by March 1881 at the latest. (This ship "was partly destroyed by fire" in 1882.) A number of towns and waterways uncommon to the Kirkpatrick brothers' pigs appear on the flask, including Grayville, Mt. Carmel, Wabash River, and Shawnetown, and represent specific landmarks along Vandergrift's route, which ran from Grayville, Illinois to New Harmony, Indiana. The name, "T. F. FRATER," jokingly incised as the name of the steamboat itself, must refer to a man listed as "T. V.[?] Frater" in the 1880 census: a 25-year-old "R[ail] Roader" born in New York and living in St. Louis. Clearly Frater commissioned this pig as a gift for Vandergrift. Among the most outstanding Anna pigs that we have ever offered, this work combines artistic appeal with local history linking the two major forms of mass transportation of the period. Provenance: Recently surfaced in the Midwestern U.S. Thin, approximately 3 1/4" crack with wear running from the middle of the pig's back and stopping between the words "Harmony and "Packet." A small, in-the-firing contact mark to snout. L 7 1/4".



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