Highly Important WEST TROY POTTERY Twenty-Gallon Stoneware Keg w/ Elaborate Cobalt Landscape

Summer 2023 Stoneware Auction

Lot #: 1

Price Realized: $120,000.00

($100,000 hammer, plus 20% buyer's premium)

PLEASE NOTE:  The American ceramics market frequently changes, often dramatically. 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:  Greatest Hits | Summer 2023 Auction | NY State Stoneware

Summer 2023 Auction Catalog

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Highly Important Twenty-Gallon Stoneware Barrel with Extravagant Cobalt Decoration of a Town Scene on the Water, Stamped Twice "WEST TROY / POTTERY," New York State origin, circa 1875, oversized, semi-ovoid form with tooled and cobalt-highlighted banding, decorated with an exceptionally large slip-trailed scene depicting a central building with spired cupola surmounted by a flag atop a hill. A smaller two-story building with incised arrow weathervane on its roof appears to the left. The right side of the scene features a brushed-cobalt body of water with sailboat. Several large, multi-tiered trees fill out the design, decorated with unusual cobalt sponging to the leaves. This same sponging forms much of the ground cover below the buildings and at the rear of the body of water. Clusters of reeds and a long three-rail fence accent the foreground and a split-rail fence appears behind the water. Impressed with the cobalt-highlighted maker's mark on the front and reverse, "WEST TROY / POTTERY." Though executed in cobalt slip on fired clay, the decoration may be inspired by Hudson River School oil paintings of the same period and region. The scene, measuring 15 1/2" tall and roughly 26" long around the curve of the vessel, is among the largest hand-applied cobalt images known on a piece of 19th century American pottery. Possibly made as a storefront piece to advertise West Troy stoneware, the barrel last sold at Skinner Auction in Bolton, MA in October of 1984--having been consigned by well-known NY State stoneware collector Wilson Berry--where it sold for $13,200 ($12,000 + 10% buyer's premium), an amount within the top few auction prices ever paid for a piece of American stoneware at that time. (The famed Elizabeth Crane stoneware punch bowl now in the collection of the American Folk Art Museum in New York had sold for $12,500 in 1978, then a world auction record for American stoneware.) The extravagance of this creation is nearly unprecedented in American stoneware, reminiscent in quality and grandeur to the designs found on a few select Norton keg-form coolers as well as the incised William Farrar "Broadway Cooler" sold in Crocker Farm's March 21, 2020 auction. Provenance: Ex-R.W. Skinner Gallery, Bolton, MA, October 26, 1984; Ex-Collection of Wilson Berry, McClean, NY; Ex-Joan and Larry Kindler, NY. Literature: Illustrated on the cover of Stoneware Collectors' Journal, For Collectors of Antique American Stoneware, Vol. 2, No. 1, January 1985. Sealed cracks to base area on front, including a 3/4" chip as well as one thin, diagonal crack extending onto base area of barrel's right side. A thin 13" crack from rim on right side of barrel. A minor glazed-over flake to shoulder. H 23".

Special Note: Due to this object's large size, we are unable to ship it using our normal in-house shipping service. It must either be picked up by the high bidder, or special arrangements must be made by the high bidder for pick up and / or shipping by a third party. If you have any questions, please contact us; we are certainly able to recommend options for third party shippers ahead of time that you can contact for a quote.

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