Exceptional T.H. WILLSON & CO. / HARRISBURG, PA Three-Gallon Stoneware Jar w/ Elaborate Decoration, 1852-55

Summer 2023 Stoneware Auction

Lot #: 123

Price Realized: $21,600.00

($18,000 hammer, plus 20% buyer's premium)

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Summer 2023 Auction Catalog

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Exceptional Three-Gallon Stoneware Jar with Elaborate Cobalt Floral Decoration, Stamped "T.H. WILLSON & CO. / HARRISBURG.PA," circa 1852-1855, ovoid jar with tooled shoulder, flattened rim, and applied lug handles, decorated with a large slip-trailed design of a flowering plant bearing two blossoms with highlighted tips to the petals, flourishes between the petals, and a curved pinwheel-shaped element to the blossoms' centers. Foliate details to the interior of the leaves and a vigorously-trailed, tornado-shaped device emanating from between the blossoms. Cobalt highlights to maker's mark and capacity mark. Distinctive characteristics of the cobalt design indicate it was executed by Shem Thomas, a Harrisburg potter who had previously worked at the Thompson Harrington shop in Lyons, NY and owned his own pottery in Penn Yan, NY. In this case, as with other early Harrisburg pieces, Thomas is utilizing the slip cup decoration he learned in New York State. Shortly after this jar was made, Thomas would partner with John Young under the partnership "John Young & Co." at Willson's defunct shop on Filbert Street. Featuring exquisite decoration, superb color, and desirable slip-trailed application of the design, this work ranks as arguably the finest example of T.H. Willson stoneware that we have ever offered. Provenance: A fresh-to-the-market example, which recently surfaced in the Mid-Atlantic U.S. A filled 2 1/4" chip to side of rim. Otherwise excellent condition with some staining to sides and reverse. H 14 3/4".

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