Important B. C. MILBURN / Alexandria Stoneware Butter Crock Inscribed "Washington C. Milburn"

Spring 2023 Stoneware Auction

Lot #: 94

Price Realized: $18,000.00

($15,000 hammer, plus 20% buyer's premium)

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Auction Highlight:  Spring 2023 Auction | Alexandria / DC Stoneware

Spring 2023 Auction Catalog

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Important and Possibly Unique One-Gallon Stoneware Cake Crock with Slip-Trailed Cobalt Floral Decoration, Inscribed "Washington. C. MILBURN," Stamped "B.C. MILBURN," Alexandria, VA origin, circa 1850-1860, wide-bodied, cylindrical form with squared rim and arched tab handles, decorated around the body with the slip-trailed name, "Washington. C. MILBURN." Front decorated above with a slip-trailed triple-blossomed sunflower motif. Reverse decorated with five vertically slip-trailed sunflower motifs. Front impressed with B.C. Milburn maker's mark below a one-gallon capacity mark. This outstanding work bears the name of Washington Clinton Milburn (1840-1891), son of potter and Wilkes Street Pottery owner, Benedict C. Milburn. It may have been made for Washington Milburn at his father's shop when he was a child during the early 1850s, or possibly made and decorated by him as a teenage potter during the latter half of the decade. (Washington Milburn would go on to become a druggist and proprietor of a Washington, D.C. pharmacy.) Such treatments are exceedingly rare for stoneware from the region; an undecorated stoneware pitcher, incised "Mrs. W.L. Milburn / 1871," is the only other example of Milburn family stoneware that we are aware of featuring an inscribed name on the body. Note the large capital letters of the slip-trailed surname, "MILBURN," which differ from the cursive of the remainder of the name, perhaps showing a sense of pride in the locally well-known potting family. Easily among the most important examples of Milburn stoneware known, this object's extravagant inscribed name, both rare and decorative, is complemented by a scarce form to the vessel, classic slip-trailed floral motifs, and superb color. Excellent condition. A chip to one handle. A 3 1/2" Y-shaped line to interior, visible as a 1/2" line on exterior of rim. Two other very short lines to rim, one of which is in the exterior surface only. H 5 1/2" ; Diam. 9".

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