Extremely Rare and Important BOSTON Stoneware Jar w/ Bird-in-Tree Motif, Jonathan Fenton, late 18th century

Summer 2023 Stoneware Auction

Lot #: 4

Price Realized: $24,000.00

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

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Summer 2023 Auction Catalog

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Extremely Rare and Important Stoneware Jar with Cobalt-Decorated Bird-in-Tree Motif, Stamped "BOSTON," Jonathan Fenton, Boston, MA, late 18th century, ovoid jar with footed base, heavily-tooled accents to upper body, flared rim, and open loop handles, decorated with four impressed and cobalt-highlighted designs of heavily-feathered birds with turned heads, holding grapes in their beaks and perched in the branches of a brushed cobalt-slip tree. Reverse impressed with the large "BOSTON" maker's mark of potter, Jonathan Fenton, above an additional impressed and cobalt-highlighted bird-with-grapes motif. Brushed cobalt highlights surround the handle terminals. The opposite side includes a single impression of the bird-with-grapes motif below Fenton's well-known "BOSTON" maker's mark. This jar survives as possibly Fenton's greatest stamp-decorated work known. Fenton's bird-with-grapes motif is one of the most elusive and prized stamped images this potter used to decorate his ware. The repetition of this design four times on one side is highly unusual, and the creation of a larger scene with the placement of the birds within a freehand tree is essentially unheard of. Fenton's stoneware is among the earliest marked American pottery known, highly-regarded in ceramics circles for its age, iconic impressed motifs, and classical forms, this jar being a masterwork of the potter's distinctive style. Literature: Illustrated in Ketchum, American Stoneware, p. 48. Illustrated in "Stoneware, Prized Ware of Old Time Potters," The Encyclopedia of Collectables, Time-Life Books, p. 135. Very nice condition with a few small rim chips and two in-the-firing flakes (contact marks) to one handle. H 11 1/2".

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