Very Rare R THOMPSON & Co. / GARDINER, Maine Stoneware Jug w/ Incised Bird and Floral Decoration, c1840

Fall 2023 Stoneware Auction

Lot #: 52

Price Realized: $5,100.00

($4,250 hammer, plus 20% buyer's premium)

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Auction Highlight:  Fall 2023 Auction | New England Stoneware | Incised Stoneware

Fall 2023 Auction Catalog

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Very Rare Two-Gallon Stoneware Jug with Incised Bird and-Floral Decoration, Stamped "R THOMPSON & Co. / GARDINER," ME origin, circa 1840, highly-ovoid jug with semi-rounded spout, decorated with an incised design of a ring-necked bird perched on a flowering vine. The bird features delicately-incised details included V-shaped patterning to the wing, diagonal slashes to the tail, dashes along the breast, and short, vertical lines within the ringed neck. Incised striping and veining decorated the interior of the flower petals and leaves and one blossom is embellished with impressed ovals on the interior. The bird is depicted grasping a series of incised comma-shaped strokes possibly representing seeds. Brushed cobalt fills the floral motif and the bird's tail, wing, and ring at its neck, while cobalt spots adorn its belly. Additional cobalt highlights appear at the maker's mark and capacity mark. Among the finest examples of Maine stoneware known, this work's incised bird motif is not only highly decorative, but exceptionally rare for Maine stoneware. Few incised pieces from this state have survived and typical pieces produced at the Thompson and other potteries of Gardiner are decorated with brushed cobalt or ochre slip tulip designs. Interestingly, the motif on this jug is closely related to avian designs found on early Norton stoneware from Bennington, Vermont. Excellent condition with some typical in-the-firing iron pings and some light staining. Early contents, possibly molasses, are solidified on the interior of the jug. H 13 1/2".

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