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POLYCHROME SCRIMSHAW WHALE'S TOOTH BY EDWARD BURDETT Circa 1830-1833

Sold for record $456,000, inclusive of buyer's premium, at The Marine Sale, July 20, 2017. 

Inscribed on lower edge Engraved, By. Edward Burdett. Of Nantucket. Onboard Of The Ship Wm Tell. Obverse titled "Wm Tell. Of. New York. Cutting. Boiling. & Fast To A Whale." Depicts the American whaleship William Tell flying a large American flag off her stern. A whaleboat off her bow is in the process of capturing a surfaced sperm whale. Another American whaleship, the George and Susan, is depicted near the tip. Reverse titled "Wm Thomson. Homeward Bound. Full." Depicts the American whaleship William Thomson flying a large American flag, an agent's flag off the foremast, a waving pennant off the midmast and a house flag off the stern mast. A coastal lighthouse and house is off the bow. Exceptional details throughout including a lookout in a mast and a rooster-form weather vane atop the lighthouse. A stylized foliate vine, typical of Burdett's style, wraps almost completely around the circumference of the base. Extensive use of red sealing wax in flags, whale and whale blubber. Ship's hull, sperm whale, whaleboat, pennant, house flag and American flags carved in relief. Length 8". 

From the inscription, we know the tooth presented here was created while Edward Burdett was onboard the ship William Tell, which left New York in November 1829 and returned to port in February 1833. It is likely the William Tell encountered the ships William Thomson and George and Susan while in the Pacific whaling grounds. Given that the William Thomson sailed from New Bedford in October 1830 and returned August 1834, and that the George and Susan sailed from New Bedford January 1830 and returned July 1833, we can further surmise the tooth was created sometime between October 1830 and February 1833.

Edward Burdett was a pioneer of American scrimshaw, and in his short but prolific career he produced what are widely considered masterpieces of the genre. He was born on Nantucket in October 1805, the son of a merchant sea captain. His first whaling voyage was aboard the Foster from 1822 to 1824. In successive voyages he sailed aboard the William Tell and the Montano. In November 1833, while serving as first mate onboard the Montano, Burdett was entangled in line, dragged by a whale overboard, and drowned. 

Provenance: Private collection for the past twenty-four years.

Condition: Small chip on lower edge of tip, with a slight age crack. Old shallow chips to inside of base, and slight age cracks at base.

Sold at Eldred's Auction July 20, 2017.

Price Realized: $456,000


THREE POLYCHROME SCRIMSHAW WHALE'S TEETH ATTRIBUTED TO THE ARCH ENGRAVER, Mid-19th Century. 

These teeth are from the same jawbone and the scenes on them correlate with each other. 

On the first tooth, the obverse depicts an American flagged whaleship, three whaleboats in the water and eight whales, three of which are in the process of being captured. Reverse depicts a whaleboat alongside a large sperm whale. The whaleman at the bow of the whaleboat is aiming to throw his harpoon. This image is a close-up view of the capture taking place at lower left of the obverse scene. Length 9.5.

On the second tooth, the obverse depicts a three-masted ship flying a long pennant from the center mast and a polychrome American flag off the stern. The reverse depicts a close-up scene of a large sperm whale just harpooned by the whaleboat drawn alongside it. This scene is the immediate aftermath of the harpooning seen on the reverse of the first tooth, and a close-up view of the capture depicted lower center on the reverse of the third tooth. Length 9.5".

On the third tooth, the obverse depicts a spread-wing eagle clutching a banner inscribed "Prosper - The Whaler". Olive branch below. The reverse depicts a whaling scene with an American flagged whaleship, four whaleboats and nine whales. One whale is waifed and three others are in the act of being captured. Length 9". 

A thin arch surrounds the obverse and reverse scenes on the first tooth, the reverse of the second tooth and the reverse of the third tooth, giving name to "the Arch Engraver". 

Figures 51, 50 and 49 in Through the Eyes of a Collector by Nina Hellman (2015).

Provenance: The Thomas Mittler Scrimshaw Collection.

Condition: Age cracks extend from base into images on both sides. Faint age crack below eagle. Several age cracks near tip.

Sold at Eldred's Auction July 20, 2017.

Price Realized: $240,000


SCRIMSHAW WHALE'S TOOTH KNOWN AS THE VIGNETTE TOOTH, Mid-19th Century.

Obverse depicts a scene of a whaleship in the act of cutting in and three whaleboats, one of which is being stoved by a whale. Vignette at upper center depicts a two-masted ship on a dead run. Reverse depicts a whaleship flying an American flag from its midmast. Active whaling surrounds the ship, including four whaleboats and six whales, one of which is waifed. Vignette at upper right depicts a three-masted ship off a coast with lighthouse and palm trees. Diamond band at top edge of tooth. Each vignette is framed by a diamond border. Quarter fan design at upper corners of scenes and vignettes. Length 6.75". 

Note: A similar tooth by the same hand was sold at Eldred's Maritime Art Auction, July 22, 2011, Lot #623.

Illustrated: Scrimshaw and Scrimshanders, Whales and Whalemen by E. Norman Flayderman (New Milford, Conn.: N. Flayderman & Co., 1971), figure 71 and 93.

Figure 5 in Through the Eyes of a Collector by Nina Hellman (2015). 

Provenance: The Thomas Mittler Scrimshaw Collection.

Condition: Good condition. Slight age cracks at base.

Sold at Eldred's Auction July 20, 2017.

Price Realized: $96,000


SUSAN'S SCRIMSHAW WHALE'S TOOTH ENGRAVED BY FREDERICK MYRICK.

Obverse depicts the Nantucket whaleship Susan with active whaling taking place off her bow. "The Susan boiling & killing sperm whales" in a banner above scene. Faint smoke emanating from center of hull indicates the whaleship is in the act of trying down. Reverse depicts the Susan in the act of cutting in and active whaling taking place off her bow. "The Susan on the Coast of Japan" in banner above scene. At upper right a vine surrounds an arch of small stars above a spread-wing eagle clutching arrows in its talons and a banner inscribed "E Pluribus Unum" in its beak.

Inscribed on one edge of tooth "Ship Susan of Nantucket Frederick Swain Master". Inscribed on opposite edge "Death to the Living long live the killers Success to sailors wives & greasy luck to whalers". Obverse of tip depicts two crossed American flags. Reverse of tip depicts an anchor. A band encircling the tip is inscribed "Engraved by Fredk Myrick on board the ship Susan March th 4th 1829". A narrow foliate vine encircles base. Length 6.75". 

Illustrated: Scrimshaw: The Whaler's Legacy by Martha Lawrence (Atglen, Penn.: Schiffer Publishing Ltd., 1993), figure 84.

Frederick Myrick of Nantucket: Scrimshaw Catalog Raisonne by Donald E. Ridley and Stuart M. Frank, the Kendall Whaling Museum Monograph Series No. 13 (Sharon, Mass: Kendall Whaling Museum, 2000), figures 21 and 40.

Frederick Myrick: Physical Characteristics of the Scrimshaw by Donald E. Ridley, Stuart M. Frank, et al, the Kendall Whaling Museum Monograph Series No. 14 (Sharon, Mass: Kendall Whaling Museum, 2000), figures V, 4 and 7.

Provenance: Sotheby's Parke Bernet, February 2, 1979.

Jeffrey and Francine Cohen Collection.

Nina Hellman to Thomas Mittler, March 9, 1994.

Figure 31 in Through the Eyes of a Collector by Nina Hellman (2015).

Provenance: The Thomas Mittler Scrimshaw Collection.

Condition: Faint age lines and tiny nicks at base.

Sold at Eldred's Auction July 20, 2017.

Price Realized: $120,000


SCRIMSHAW WHALE'S TOOTH BY WILLIAM L. RODERICK. 

Exceptionally detailed work depicting a woman in Victorian dress and a young man in traditional Scottish attire including a kilt and and a fox head sporran. Signed and dated lower right W.L. Roderick April 1850". Tip of reverse engraved "The tooth of a large Whale Captured by Robert Macarty in Timor Straits Feb. 17 1849". Length 7.75". 

Figure 38 in Through the Eyes of a Collector by Nina Hellman (2015). 

Provenance: The Thomas Mittler Scrimshaw Collection."

Condition: Small old chips at base of tooth.

Sold at Eldred's Auction July 20, 2017.

Price Realized: $30,000


PAIR OF SCRIMSHAW WHALE'S TEETH, Mid-19th Century. 

One titled Takeing [sic] Whale depicts a whaleship with a whale drawn alongside, as well as four whaleboats in the water and eight whales, one of which is waifed. Other tooth titled "The Chase" depicts a whaleship, two whaleboats in the water and eight whales. Both teeth with exceptional details. Lengths 7". 

Figures 2 and 3 in Through the Eyes of a Collector by Nina Hellman (2015). 

Provenance: The Thomas Mittler Scrimshaw Collection.

Condition: Nice. Several faint age lines and tiny fretting at base of each tooth.

Sold at Eldred's Auction July 20, 2017.

Price Realized: $60,000


POLYCHROME SCRIMSHAW WHALE'S TOOTH ATTRIBUTED TO THE NAVAL MONUMENT ENGRAVER, First Half of the 19th Century.

Both sides with exceptionally detailed Anglo-American naval battle scenes. Polychrome elements at American and British flags and at long pennant flying from one of the ships on the obverse. Obverse titled below scene "The President Engageing [sic] the Endymion, While Pursued by the British Squadron". Reverse titled below scene "The Enterprize and Boxer". Distant coastline and schooner at left of scene. This image was inspired by an illustration in The Naval Monument published by A. Bowen in 1816. Length 8.5".

Figure 56 in Through the Eyes of a Collector by Nina Hellman (2015).

Provenance: The Thomas Mittler Scrimshaw Collection.

Condition: Several age cracks extending from base. One long age crack runs through reverse scene, mostly in the sky.

Sold at Eldred's Auction July 20, 2017.

Price Realized: $34,800


WALRUS IVORY PIE CRIMPER, Mid-19th Century.

Two wheels supported by a mount in the form of conjoined birds. Scrolled handle with incised conforming border and brass pique inlay. Baleen hanging ring at end of handle opposite wheels. Length 7.75. 

Figure 132 in Through the Eyes of a Collector by Nina Hellman (2015).

Provenance: The Thomas Mittler Scrimshaw Collection.

Condition: Handle with several faint age cracks.

Sold at Eldred's Auction July 20, 2017.

Price Realized: $16,800


RARE WHALE IVORY PIE CRIMPER IN THE FORM OF A SERPENT, Mid-19th Century.

Serpent with carved open mouth, inlaid baleen eyes and banding, and a crimping fork and wheel at tail end. Incredibly thin carved scroll at base of fork. Star-form wheel with a delicate and beautifully shaped support. Shaft with inset metal plate engraved C.R. Dexter". Length 7.75". 

Illustrated: Scrimshaw and Scrimshanders, Whales and Whalemen by E. Norman Flayderman (New Milford, Conn.: N. Flayderman & Co., 1971), figure 186.

Provenance: Barbara Johnson Collection.

Figure 137 in Through the Eyes of a Collector by Nina Hellman (2015).

Provenance: The Thomas Mittler Scrimshaw Collection.

Condition: Central baleen band with age crack and is slightly loose from handle. Some deterioration of baleen band near snake's head.

Sold at Eldred's Auction July 20, 2017.

Price Realized: $25,200






NATHAN YOUNG'S JOURNAL OF FOUR WHALING VOYAGES FROM PROVINCETOWN, MASSACHUSETTS.

Wonderfully written and illustrated journal covering four voyages, the first and second aboard the schooner Rienzi and the third and fourth aboard the brig Lewis Bruce. The first voyage began February 17, 1847 and ended August 14, 1847; the second began April 13, 1848 and ended September 29, 1848; the third began April 11, 1849 and ended September 27, 1849; and the fourth began April 8, 1850 and ended October 26, 1850. Includes approx. 85 drawings of ships, whaleboats, whales and other sea life, whaling scenes and coastal views. One page with a watercolor and pencil ilustration of a whaleboat on davits and pencil illustrations of all the equipment onboard a whaleboat, identified with a numbered key. One page provides a Register Of The Schooner Rienzi Crew 1847" with names, positions, places of residence and ages, as well as a weekly meal plan. A similar list of crew is provided for the Rienzi's 1848 voyage. From the September 20, 1850 entry: "the starboard Boat rowed up against the wind and sea, and fastened to her, a large whale we called her a hundred barreller, she run quick when we first got fast, then drove to we got one lanse at her and she have a think spray of blood, then she took to running and sounding, the waist Boat could not get up with us, she sounded 15 or 20 times, we got severall lances in aft in her but done her know[no] hurt, two hours after we fastened a snarl came to the logerhead, which carried the Boat under, then we cut, out but came up after a short time we was taken of by the Waist Boat which happened to be nere by, we lost 3 oars one lance two irons one hundred and fifty fathoms of line, besides several articles of clothing we hoisted a light in about 20 minutes the vessel came along and we took up our boats, kept sail on all night and worked to windward on different tacks, so ends this day, Lattin 33'45" Long in 42'30". Three-quarter calf binding with marbled boards. Approx. 13.5" x 8.25". Includes custom clamshell slipcase.

Condition: Even toning. One page with slight tear at lower edge. One page torn out.

Sold at Eldred's Auction July 20, 2017.

Price Realized: $57,200


RARE COWDEN & WILCOX THREE GALLON STONEWARE CROCK WITH BIRD AND GRAPES COBALT SLIP DECORATION. Very scarce design depicting a bird perched between two clusters of grapes and foliage. Stamped Cowden & Wilcox, Harrisburg, PA". 9,75"h.

Condition: Fair to good with rim chips and lines.

Sold at Conestoga Auction July 22, 2017.

Estimate: $1,000-2,000

Price Realized: $4,130


STONEWARE PITCHER WITH COBALT BLUE FOLIATE DECORATION. Attributed to Remmey Pottery, Philadelphia, PA. Bulbous form quart size with tooled shoulder and applied handle. 7"h. 

Condition: Very good.

Sold at Conestoga Auction July 22, 2017.

Estimate: $500-800

Price Realized: $1,888


VERY RARE M & T MILLER MAN IN THE MOON COBALT SLIP DECORATED DECORATED TWO GALLON STONEWARE JUG. Stamped "M. & T. Miller, Newport. PA". 14"h.

Condition: Good with chips and wear on spout.

Sold at Conestoga Auction July 22, 2017.

Estimate: $3,000-5,000

Price Realized: $33,040


19TH CENTURY SHAKER OVAL BAND BOX. Original blue paint, lapped finger joints with copper tack construction. 4.75"h. x 11.75"w. x 8.375"d.

Condition: Good, Pleasing surface with some wear.

Sold at Conestoga Auction July 22, 2017.

Estimate: $300-500

Price Realized: $2,950


19TH CENTURY WOODLANDS NATIVE AMERICAN CURLY MAPLE EFFIGY LADLE. 8.75"l

 Condition: Very good with darkened patina.

Sold at Conestoga Auction July 22, 2017.

Estimate: $800-1,200

Price Realized: $4,720


PENNSYLVANIA 19TH CENTURY SOFTWOOD PAINT DECORATED MINIATURE BLANKET CHEST. Interior till, Dovetailed case molded base and turned feet. 15.75"h. x 26.75"d. x 12.25"d.

Condition: Fair with wear, lid has cracks and replaced trim.

Sold at Conestoga Auction July 22, 2017.

Estimate: $100-200

Price Realized: $1,416


PENNSYLVANIA 19TH CENTURY SOFTWOOD HALF-ROUND EAGLE BUTTER PRINT. 3.5"h. x 7"w. Condition: Very good with minor wear.

Condition: Very good with minor wear.

Sold at Conestoga Auction July 22, 2017.

Estimate: $100-300

Price Realized: $2,242


HISTORICAL BLUE STAFFORDSHIRE CHINA "NIAGARA FROM THE AMERICAN SIDE" PLATTER. Impressed E. Wood & Sons. 11.75'' x 15''. 

Condition: Very good with stains.

Sold at Conestoga Auction July 22, 2017.

Estimate: $500-800

Price Realized: $1,298


CATS EYE MOCHA DECORATED CHINA BARREL FORM PITCHER, 7"h. 

Condition: Good with a chip on side of spout and 3" vertical hairline on body near handle.

Sold at Conestoga Auction July 22, 2017.

Estimate: $500-800

Price Realized: $1,298


EARTHWORM MOCHA DECORATED SOFT PATES CHINA STRAIGHT SIDED MUG. Double band of zig-zag earthworm decoration. 4.875"h.

Condition: Very good with minor wear.

Sold at Conestoga Auction July 22, 2017.

Estimate: $500-800

Price Realized: $1,770


18TH CENTURY OAK EXTENSION ARM CANDLESTAND. Elbow jointed extensions with hand wrought iron pins with square base plates. Original branch shaft and peaked block base. 29"h., arm extends 45".

Condition: Very good with age wear and cracks.

Sold at Conestoga Auction July 22, 2017.

Estimate: $300-500

Price Realized: $1,770


19TH CENTURY CHERRY ADJUSTABLE TABLE TOP CANDLESTAND. Vasiform turned base with tin candle collars. 8.25"h.

Condition: Good with wear and age cracks.

Sold at Conestoga Auction July 22, 2017.

Estimate: $100-300

Price Realized: $1,416


PAIR OF 19TH CENTURY OIL ON CANVAS PORTRAIT PAINTINGS. Unsigned. Half length portraits depicting a gentleman in formal attire and lady with pearl head tiara, red dress and cape. In gilt molded frames, 30.75" x 25.625" overall.

 Condition: Good with minor wear and losses, craquelar.

Sold at Conestoga Auction July 22, 2017.

Estimate: $200-400

Price Realized: $3,068


VERY FINE AND RARE PAINT DECORATED BLANKET CHEST, attributed to Joel Palmer (1812-1884), Sideling Hill, Fulton County, Pennsylvania. Red Ground with green trim, front panel inscribed A.W. (Amos Jacob Wink), polychrome triple vases of flowers, and rosette decoration on base molding. Molded lid, interior till with locking lower drawer, dovetailed case, molded base with shaped dovetailed bracket feet. For a related example see "Pennsylvania-German Decorated Chest" by Monroe H. Fabian, page 181 figure 191. Provenance: This chest descended in the family and was a wedding gift from Palmer. Accompanied with a letter from a direct family descendant. Never before offered for sale. 22.5"h. x 39.5"w. x 18"d.

Condition: Very good with strip of wood missing from right side of trim on lid and small chip off side at dovetail, minor stains and wear on lid. Paint is 100% original. Two foot support blocks missing from base.

Sold at Conestoga Auction July 22, 2017.

Estimate: $25,000-35,000

Price Realized: $20,060


PENNSYLVANIA EARLY 19TH CENTURY MIXED WOOD BENCH TABLE. Original red paint, circular three board scrubbed top, baton supports, square seat with ached cut-out skirt, peg and rose head nail construction. 29"h. x 46" diameter.

Condition: Good with wear and age cracks.

Sold at Conestoga Auction July 22, 2017.

Estimate: $800-$1,200

Price Realized: $2,242


PENNSYLVANIA 19TH CENTURY PRIMITIVE SOFTWOOD MILK CUPBOARD. Original blue paint, plank construction with dovetailed case, single plank door with interior beaded batons and iron H-hinges, beaded stiles and arched cut-out feet. 47"h. x 36.5"w. x 14.5"d.

Condition: Good with wear, age cracks and minor losses.

Sold at Conestoga Auction July 22, 2017.

Estimate: $300-$500

Price Realized: $2,124


PENNSYLVANIA 19TH CENTURY SOFTWOOD SETTLE. Original red paint, three board back with beaded edges, shaped cut-out sides and arched cut-out feet. 52"h. x 60"w. x 14"d.

Condition: Good with wear and minor losses.

Sold at Conestoga Auction July 22, 2017.

Estimate: $200-$400

Price Realized: $4,425


PENNSYLVANIA 19TH CENTURY SOFTWOOD DRYSINK/BUCKET BENCH. Dovetailed and mortised construction. Remnants of old green paint over the original red. 35"h. x 48.5"w. x 19.5"d.

Condition: Good with wear, age cracks and minor losses.

Sold at Conestoga Auction July 22, 2017.

Estimate: $200-$400
Price Realized: $2,714

EXCEEDINGLY RARE AND IMPORTANT SGRAFFITO DECORATED REDWARE PLATE, with Bird-and-Flowering-Urn Motif, Inscribed "Ich koche was ich kan; Was mey Sau nicht frest; Das frest mey mann; Sa.l Tr.l [Samuel Troxel] / Ja.y 25th 1833 a[nno] F[ecit]" Reverse signed in incised script, "Samuel Troxel / Potter To uperhanover / Township Montgomery / County January us the / 25th A.D. 1833," with coggled edge, the interior featuring a sgraffito decoration of two birds perched on a flowering plant emanating from an open-handled urn. Central flower features sgraffito berries extending from the blossom, from which the birds appear to be feeding. Additional sgraffito swag decoration flanking each bird. The decoration conveys a superb mastery of the sgraffito technique, with bold, diamond-shaped sections of red clay forming the flowers' more-prominent petals, heavy detail to the birds' wings, and striped and spotted accents to the birds' body and tail. Decoration accented with daubs of copper-oxide. Border of plate incised with the sgraffito inscription, "Ich koche was ich kan; Was mey Sau nicht frest; Das frest mey mann;", a humorous remark translating to "I cook what I can; What my sow doesn't eat; That is what my husband eats;". These words are followed by an abbreviated signature and date: "Sa.l Tr.l / Ja.y 25th 1833 a[nno] F[ecit]". Outside of museum collections, relatively few examples of Pennsylvania-German sgraffitoware are known in high-grade condition. The early age of manufacture of most pieces, and the technique involved in creating them, has resulted in a large number with moderately to heavily damaged surfaces. In contrast, this plate survives in a remarkable state of preservation with essentially no wear to the fragile decoration on the interior. The significance of the plate is magnified by its elaborate inscription on the reverse side, distinguishing it as likely one of only two examples bearing a Troxel signature on the reverse, the second residing in the collection of Winterthur. Also of note is the fact that this plate bears the same date of manufacture as an iconic Troxel plate, inscribed "Liberty for Gackson", owned by the Philadelphia Museum of Art. The sale of this object offers a rare opportunity to acquire a fine-conditioned, signed work of sgraffitoware by one of the leading masters of this decorative technique. When considering the decoration, maker, signature, and condition of this example, it can easily be regarded as one of the finest pieces of Pennsylvania redware to come to auction in the past decade or more. Diameter 10.25".

Literature: For a Troxel plate bearing the same date, see Garvan, The Pennsylvania-German Collection, p. 205, fig. 143.

Provenance: A fresh-to-the-market example, acquired privately in the 1980s, this plate will be offered publicly for the first time in its existence.

Condition: Excellent overall condition with rim chips and essentially no wear to interior. Interior surface remains bright and lustrous. The remarkable condition of this plate suggests it was rarely used. 

Sold at Crocker Farm July 22, 2017.

Price Realized: $82,600


EXTREMELY RARE AND IMPORTANT SLIP-DECORATED REDWARE SUGAR BOWL, with Elaborate Applied Decoration, attributed to John Nice, Montgomery County, PA, circa 1830, ovoid bowl with footed base, semi-rounded rim, and applied handles with gadrooned accents. Surface covered in a mottled brown manganese glaze and decorated on each side with an applied design of a flower blossom flanked by leaves, accented in copper and cream-colored slip brushwork. Surface further decorated around the body and under the handles with cream-colored slip spots, and covered in a clear lead glaze. Original domed lid with manganese-glazed surface and ornamental, stepped finial featuring scrolled embellishments and applied clay orbs throughout, additionally decorated with cream-colored slip spots and covered in a clear lead glaze. Among American redware authorities, the lidded bowls of John Nice are considered one of the iconic forms of the Pennsylvania-German school. This outstanding work is possibly the finest Nice sugar bowl known, rivaling in quality examples held at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and Winterthur. Its large applied floral motif and employment of copper slip decoration are most unusual. H (including lid) 5.5" ; H (excluding lid) 3" ; Diameter 4.25".

Provenance: A fresh-to-the-market example, purchased in 1961 at a Northampton County, PA auction, where it was described as a "Mexican sugar bowl".

Literature: For an example of this John Nice form, see Garvan, The Pennsylvania-German Collection, p. 192, fig. 96.

Condition: Bowl with a rim chip, some typical glaze wear to interior of rim, some wear to applied decoration and handles, and some very minor wear to slip spot decoration. Lid with some small spots of wear to applied decoration, some spots of glaze loss to edge of lid, and some wear to flange on underside of lid. 

Sold at Crocker Farm July 22, 2017.

Price Realized: $11,210


EXCEPTIONAL FIVE-GALLON STONEWARE CREAM JAR, with Cobalt Decoration of a Parrot Clutching a Cluster of Cherries, Stamped "HARRINGTON & BURGER / ROCHESTER", New York State origin, circa 1852-1854, ovoid jar with applied lug handles, decorated with a large slip-trailed design of a crested parrot perched in a tree, grasping a cluster of cherries in its foot, the tree flanked by bushes on a stylized ground. Meticulously-slip-trailed feathers appear throughout the bird's back, breast, wing, and face. Parrot measures an impressive 9.5" from head to tail, while the entire design, from ground to treetop, stands 11.5" tall. Slip-trailed "5." to shoulder. Strong cobalt highlight to the maker's mark, "HARRINGTON & BURGER / ROCHESTER", representing the short-lived partnership of two of New York State's leading potters, Thompson Harrington and John Burger. The jar's decoration, extravagant in size and detail, is one of the finest slip-trailed bird designs we have ever offered; it was possibly inspired by natural history prints published years prior. Engravings from the 1833 work "The Miscellany of Natural History, Volume I, Parrots, created by an associate of John James Audubon, Joseph Kidd (1806/8-1889)," share a strong likeness in composition to the design found on this jar. The jar's highly artistic design and striking color would set the standard for American stoneware production in mid 19th century New York. This motif even served as the inspiration for a design found in the work of Julius and Edward Norton of Bennington, Vermont, circa 1855, made shortly after this jar's production. While pieces bearing the mark of Harrington & Burger occasionally succumbed to oversalting in the kiln, resulting in a blurry decoration, the design on this jar remains crisp, dark, and vibrant. The subject matter, color, size, and condition of the jar, set this example apart as one of the finest examples of Rochester, NY stoneware to come to auction in years. H 15.125".

Provenance: Property of a New York State collector.

Condition: Excellent condition with a 4" hairline from rim on reverse.

Sold at Crocker Farm July 22, 2017.

Price Realized: $47,200



IMPORTANT AND POSSIBLY UNIQUE TWO-GALLON STONEWARE JUG, with Incised Bird Decoration, Stamped "DAVID MORGAN. / NEW YORK", Manhattan, NY origin, circa 1800, ovoid jug with footed base and tooled spout, decorated with an incised and cobalt-highlighted design of a crested bird with ringed neck and turned head, perched on a stylized leaf. Good detail to decoration, including incised X's along the bird's neck ring and incised feathers on wing. Reverse impressed with the cobalt-highlighted maker's mark, "DAVID MORGAN. / NEW-YORK". Brushed cobalt highlights to handle terminals. This jug is regarded as the finest example of surviving stoneware produced at the short-lived Corlears Hook pottery of David Morgan. It is believed to be one of two known examples of signed Manhattan stoneware with incised bird decoration. (The second such piece is an iconic Clarkson Crolius, Sr. jug, previously owned by the Keno brothers, which sold in Crocker Farm's November 3, 2007 auction.) The artist of the Morgan jug evidently took pride in this work as space was found on the reverse for the maker's mark, a treatment unknown among any other extant Manhattan jugs. Easily one of the most important examples of Manhattan stoneware to come to auction years. H 15".

Provenance: Property of a New York State collector.

Condition:  A crack to handle. Hairline to shoulder below upper handle terminal. A chip and hairlines to spout. Some additional lines to bottom half of jug, probably in-the-firing, common among pieces of this age and origin. A few typical, small in-the-firing flaws to surface.

Sold at Crocker Farm July 22, 2017.

Price Realized: $20,060


RARE AND IMPORTANT DIMINUTIVE ALKALINE-GLAZED STONEWARE FACE JUG, Edgefield District, SC origin, circa 1845-1855, ovoid jug with semi-squared spout, decorated with an applied clay face featuring bulging eyes with pierced pupils, long arching eyebrows, a nose with recessed nostrils, large ears with tragi, and an open mouth with deeply-carved teeth. Surface covered in a dark, mottled alkaline glaze. This example features a petite size, highly-expressive face, and refined sculpting throughout, including delicately-carved teeth reminiscent of those found on the iconic Solomon Bell redware figure of a lion in the collection of the Museum of Early Southern Decorative Arts, Winston-Salem, North Carolina. This work is distinguished as one of the most well-documented Edgefield face vessels in existence, carrying an illustrious sale, exhibition, and publication history. It is one of a group of Edgefield face vessels sold as part of the John Gordon Collection of Folk Americana, conducted by Christie's in 1999 and regarded as the greatest public sale of American ceramic face vessels ever held. Gordon purchased this face jug in 1969, along with several others, from the noted early South Carolina collector, Helen Eve, granddaughter of Colonel Thomas Davies, owner of the Palmetto Fire Brick Works of Bath, South Carolina. While a number of face vessels from Eve's collection were later restored by Gordon, this example survives in remarkable, almost untouched condition. Its price at auction in 1999 of $12,650 including buyer's premium was noteworthy in its day. After the jug's acquisition from Eve, it has been exhibited twice, including at a particularly early show of American ceramics, held at the IBM Gallery in New York in 1969. The jug is additionally illustrated in John Michael Vlach's ground-breaking 1978 treatise on African-American art, entitled The Afro-American Tradition in Decorative Art. The sale of this jug offers a rare opportunity to acquire a classic Edgefield face jug, which holds an important place in American face vessel history. H 4.625".

Provenance: Christie's, The John Gordon Collection of Folk Americana, January 15-19, 1999, Lot #1156; purchased by John Gordon from Helen Eve in 1969; acquired by Eve's son, William Raiford Eve, from an African-American community between Aiken and Langley, SC prior to World War II.

Literature: Vlach, The Afro-American Tradition in Decorative Art, (Cleveland 1978), p. 84, fig. 75, pl. VII; Regenia Perry, Spirits or Satire: African-American Face Vessels of the 19th Century, (Charleston, 1985), fig. 4. Exhibited: New York, New York, IBM Gallery, "Early American Pottery", 22 September - October 25 1969; Charleston, SC, Gibbes Art Gallery, "Spirits or Satire: African-American Face Vessels of the Nineteenth-Century", 1 October - 6 November 1985. H 4.625".

Condition: Excellent condition with a minor chip to one eyebrow.

Sold at Crocker Farm July 22, 2017.

Price Realized: $47,200


RARE AND IMPORTANT ALKALINE-GLAZED STONEWARE FACE JUG, Edgefield District, SC origin, circa 1845-1860, ovoid jug with semi-squared spout, decorated with an applied clay face, including pierced kaolin eyes and open mouth with deeply-carved kaolin teeth, arching eyebrows, nose with deeply-sculpted nostrils, and large ears with tragi. Surface covered in an unusual and appealing mottled alkaline glaze with high gloss, ranging in color from light-celadon to olive-green. During construction, the wall of the jug was flattened to apply the face, a technique common among a number of Edgefield face vessels, even carried on in the 20th century by the Georgia master, Lanier Meaders. Additional manipulation of the jug's surface creates the facial structure, including cheek bones. A wonderfully-glazed example, surviving in remarkable condition. H 5.75".

Provenance: Skinner Auction, The Edmund and Jayne Blaske Collection of American Historical Flasks, May 20-21, 1983. Includes Blaske Collection sticker on underside.

Condition: An in-the-firing separation to right of one eye, which is partially filled with glaze. A 5/8" in-the-firing piece of adhered clay to corner of other eye. A tiny chip to one ear. 

Sold at Crocker Farm July 22, 2017.

Price Realized: $35,400


RARE AND IMPORTANT MORAVIAN REDWARE BOWL, with Copper-and-Manganese-Slip Flower and Swag Motif, Bethabara or Salem, NC origin, late 18th or early 19th century, with flared sides and semi-squared rim molding, the interior decorated in copper and manganese slip with a flower blossom or pinwheel motif, essentially two fylfots of alternating color. Shoulder of bowl additionally decorated in alternating manganese and copper slip with swag and dash motifs. This bowl is regarded as one of the finest examples of North Carolina slipware to come to auction in recent years. Relatively few examples of this quality can be found outside of museum collections. H 2.5" ; Diameter 11.75".

Provenance: A fresh-to-the-market example, purchased by the consignor in 1974 from NC dealer, collector, and compatriot of Frank Horton, Nancy Conover. Underside includes Conover's pencil inscription "Found in Salem, NC / N. Conover / Greensboro, N.C.".

Condition: Knife marks and wear to interior surface and slip. Slip decoration survives with only extremely minor losses. Wear to molding at edge of shoulder. Some wear to rim. 

Sold at Crocker Farm July 22, 2017.

Price Realized: $12,980


RARE AND FINE MORAVIAN COPPER-GLAZED REDWARE FISH BOTTLE, Salem, NC origin, circa 1801-1829, molded in the form of a fish with elaborate scale and fin detail, the surface covered in a bright-green, lead-and-copper glaze. An iconic Southern folk art form. L 6.125".

Condition: Very nice condition. Three small in-the-firing contact marks to one side. A 3/8" glaze flake to tip of tail. Other minor spots of wear to edges.

Sold at Crocker Farm July 22, 2017.

Price Realized: $17,700


EXCEPTIONAL AND IMPORTANT SMALL-SIZED STONEWARE PITCHER, with Incised Bird Decoration, Inscribed "J.F." and "J.S.", Virginia origin, circa 1815-1830, probably John P. Schermerhorn at the Benjamin DuVal Stoneware Manufactory, Richmond, VA, circa 1815, ovoid pitcher with slightly-footed base, narrow collar and thin strap handle with central groove, the front decorated with a large incised and cobalt-highlighted design of a bird perched in a flowering branch. Decoration includes veining to the leaves, accents to the circular clusters of petals, and feather detail to the bird. Additionally incised along the shoulder with a drape-and-tassel motif in the Manhattan style, most commonly seen in the impressed decorations of Corlears Hook potters, Thomas Commeraw and David Morgan. Handle terminals brushed with cobalt slip, including scalloped incising accenting the lower terminal. Incised with the cobalt-highlighted initials, "J:F", the presumed owner of the pitcher, below the handle. Underside incised with the initials, "J**S", believed to be the maker of the pitcher. The pitcher's bird design was inspired by motifs created by the Manhattan-trained potters, Henry Remmey and his son, Henry Harrison Remmey, while active in Baltimore, MD, circa 1812-1829. Shortly after their arrival in Baltimore, the Remmeys set the standard for Southern stoneware production, producing beautifully-incised work of a quality even finer than that produced in Manhattan. A number of Southern potteries emulated Baltimore ware to various degrees, this pitcher being one of the most extravagantly-decorated we have seen. It was made by one of a relatively small group of Virginia potters familiar with incised decoration, presumably a craftsman trained in the Northeastern U.S. or Baltimore. The most likely identity of the pitcher's maker is John P. Schermerhorn, while working at the pottery of merchant, Benjamin DuVal, in Richmond, VA, circa 1815. Schermerhorn's early potting career in New Jersey and New York State, as well as a small number of incised Richmond pieces attributed to his hand, indicate his familiarity with incised decoration. Moreover, sherds excavated at the Benjamin DuVal site reveal the work of a proficient artist of incised foliate designs. While the simple form of the pitcher and its color, dark-gray with brown mottling throughout, are consistent with James River Valley stoneware, the initials, "J**S", on the underside, further corroborate a Schermerhorn attribution. Interestingly, the incised drape-and-tassel design is more likely based on Manhattan stoneware rather than Remmey pieces from Baltimore; despite the Remmeys' Manhattan training, none of their Baltimore work displays this Federal-style motif. However, brushed variants of this design are found on early James River stoneware, made circa 1820. Extending further west, pieces produced by the Rockbridge County potter, John Morgan, who was trained in Manhattan, feature brushed and stenciled forms of this popular Northern-inspired design, as well as some finely-executed incised bird decorations. Incised Southern stoneware of this quality is exceedingly rare. This pitcher serves as an important link between the Virginia stoneware craft and its roots in potteries further north. One of the most important examples of Virginia stoneware to come to market in recent years. H 8".

Provenance: Property of New York State collector. Ex-Stephen Score. 

Condition: Excellent, essentially as-made condition with a 3/4" in-the-firing line on interior of spout, not visible on exterior.

Sold at Crocker Farm July 22, 2017.

Price Realized: $35,400


EXCEEDINGLY RARE AND IMPORTANT MATCHED PAIR OF GLAZED REDWARE SPANIELS, Stamped "JOHN BELL," Waynesboro, PA origin, circa 1840-1865, pair of molded, seated spaniel figures with incised details to eyes, muzzle, teeth, and paws. Both with chains extending from neck to back, composed of small, individually-impressed circles. Figures are decorated with streaks of manganese over light yellow clay and covered in a clear lead glaze. Right spaniel impressed twice on underside "JOHN BELL," and left example impressed once on underside "JOHN BELL". This pair of spaniels is one of the most significant lots of John Bell pottery ever to come to auction. They are a true pair, made from opposing molds and identically-glazed. Few such pairs exist today. It is likely both were originally displayed as highly-prized mantel pieces, given their immaculate condition. Adding to their rarity and visual appeal is the light-colored clay that both are composed of, a variety commonly found on Bell's yellow canning jars, molds, and other forms. The majority of Bell spaniels known are molded from a more-typical, reddish-orange clay, common to 19th century redware. An outstanding offering of Bell family and Shenandoah Valley regional pottery. H (of each) 9.25".

Literature: Pictured in H.E. Comstock's The Pottery of the Shenandoah Valley Region, p. 153, fig. 4.209.

Provenance: Dr. Raymond L. Owen Collection. Excellent, essentially as-made condition with no visible flaws

Sold at Crocker Farm July 22, 2017.

Price Realized: $12,980


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