Rare and Fine Small-Sized Moravian Redware Fish Bottle w/ Copper Glaze, Salem, NC

Spring 2023 Stoneware Auction

Lot #: 83A

Price Realized: $30,000.00

($25,000 hammer, plus 20% buyer's premium)

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Spring 2023 Auction Catalog

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Rare and Fine Small-Sized Moravian Redware Fish Bottle with Copper Glaze, Salem, NC origin, circa 1801-1829, molded bottle in the form of a fish with raised, circular eyes and heavily-detailed scales and fins, the animal's mouth forming the vessel's spout. Surface covered in a mottled green lead-and-copper glaze. This example is molded in the smallest size known for this form. It survives in remarkable condition, retaining a strong luster to the surface and crisp detail throughout, including deep, tactile scaling and finnage. Literature: A different fish bottle of the same size is discussed by Johanna Brown in her Ceramics in America 2009 article, "Tradition and Adaptation in Moravian Press-Molded Earthenware." Brown writes, "[The] smallest fish bottles might have been marketed as presents and toys. The example illustrated at the far right in figure 27 belonged to Alethea Fluke, a Quaker who lived in Guilford County, North Carolina. When Alethea gave the bottle to her grandson in 1889, she included a note stating: 'My dear old companion we have been together 86 years I now bid thee a final farewell I give it to my grand son Trenmor Coffin in my 92nd year may it remain as long in his family as it has with me 8th mo 30th 1889 Alethea Coffin.' Assuming that her recollection was correct, Alethea's father purchased the bottle about 1803." Provenance: A newly-discovered example. Excellent condition with typical small, in-the-firing kiln furniture marks to one side, two tiny nicks to outer edge of one eye, a tiny nick to dorsal fin, and other very minor surface wear. L 4 1/2".

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