Exceedingly Rare and Important 1787 Watchspring-Decorated Mug, attrib. Abraham Mead, Greenwich, CT

Fall 2023 Stoneware Auction

Lot #: 7

Price Realized: $7,200.00

($6,000 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:  Fall 2023 Auction | New England Stoneware | Connecticut Pottery

Fall 2023 Auction Catalog

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Exceedingly Rare and Important Cobalt-Decorated Stoneware Mug with Watch Spring Motifs and 1787 Date, attributed to Abraham Mead, Greenwich, CT, 1787, cylindrical form with heavily-tooled banding to shoulder and base, the midsection decorated with the slip-trailed date, "1787," flanked by scrolled "watch spring" motifs embellished with dashed details. Base of handle with additional watch spring motif. Slip-trailed cobalt highlights to banding. An exceptional form based on the style of Westerwald stoneware from Germany. Very few American examples from this period have survived intact. Related mugs with sprig-molded "GR" medallions, made in Westerwald during the reign of King George III of Great Britain, are occasionally found in colonial American archaeological sites. Sherds of American-made examples of this form have been excavated at the William Rogers pottery site in Yorktown, Virginia, active circa 1720-1745, the Crolius and Remmey pottery sites in Manhattan, New York, active circa 1720-1765, and the Captain James Morgan pottery in Cheesequake, New Jersey, active circa 1775-1784. The mug's maker, Abraham Mead, learned the trade from Dutch-born potter, Adam States, Sr. States, prior to establishing his Greenwich, Connecticut pottery around 1750, worked in Cheesequake, New Jersey and Manhattan, New York, two locations where he may have adopted the "watch spring" motif that was passed on to Mead. This mug is among the most remarkable 18th century American ceramic objects that we have offered, its significance defined by the rarity of its form, its relationship to the Old World stoneware tradition, and its bold 18th century date. To our knowledge, this work is the only dated stoneware mug surviving from eighteenth century America. Produced just eleven years after American Independence, the mug's date may reference the young country's creation of a Constitution in 1787. An approximately 3 1/2" x 1 5/8" reglued L-shaped section to base, the base of the L measuring 1/2" long. A few chips along the juncture of the reglued section with the mug. A 2 3/4" vertical line ascending from the reglued section. A network of tight lines to underside, most of which remain surface level and are not visible on interior. A 2 1/2" hairline from rim. Some additional surface lines from rim on interior, not visible on exterior. H 6 3/8" ; Diam. (at base) 4 1/2".

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