Antique colonial American redware jug or pitcher with beautiful exterior underglaze manganese decoration. It is perfectly splashed with dark manganese under a common galena glaze and dates from the late 1700s to early 1800s. It is also expertly hand thrown and its ovoid shape mimics the blue & gray westerwald reeded neck salt glaze jugs and pitcher forms of the early to mid 1700s. It is made of common earthenware glazed with a traditional lead glaze and was probably produced by a potter in Pennsylvania, New York or Connecticut. The incised line defining the rim of the jug along with a single cordoned line at the beginning of the shoulder and another stronger cordoned line at the base are also characteristics of Rhenish stonewares copied by the earliest stoneware potters in New York and other American colonies before the American Revolution. John Remmey (New York), William Crolius (New York), Anthony Duche (in Philadelphia) produced similar shaped jugs in gray salt glazed stoneware. Eighteenth century redware jugs like the one offered here copied these older European stoneware forms to be bulbous with more cylindrical necks and nicely cordon handles.
The splashed dark manganese decoration added to the jug that matured with the glaze may have been influenced by Staffordshire red-bodied variegated, marbled and agateware of the 1750 to 1780 period. Even Josiah Wedgwood produced a dark red slipped and black manganese spattered creamware that looks very similar to the effect achieved on this redware jug. The interior of the jug listed here is glazed with a yellow-tinged glaze that lacks the fine spattering covering the exterior. The yellow-tinged lead sulphide makes this redware jug appear ginger brown on its inside since there is no dark manganese spattering.
The potting of this pitcher is expertly done with throwing rings wiped clean on all but the inside belly and base of the vessel. The jug weighs 2 3/4 lbs empty and so the potter throwing this pitcher was very skillful in forming larger vessels. This jug probably holds about one gallon, however it has not been filled with water to verify this estimate (its capacity is not established fact). The spout is nicely formed with a partial second incised line placed right along its lower edge as an added accent. The handle has four full cordons and its lower attachment is a flatten rat-tail style terminal. Also, the potter continue the lead glaze right on down to the very bottom of the base so as to make this pitcher appear more refined than most common redware pitchers where the glazed often stopped a few centimeters above the base. Or, the potter of this pitcher may have been intentionally trying to mimic the marbleized and spattered appearance of some Staffordshire redwares of the same time period.
Like most antique redware, this pitcher was used for a period before it was saved and simply cherished as an antique. The chips along its rim reveal that the red earthenware clay contains small inclusions of quartz and other minerals typical of the clays from the northeastern US. This jug may have once had a cover unless the wear along the top of the rim was simply caused by turning the pitcher upside down hundreds of times after cleaning and use. Finally, of all the American redware vessels and fragments I have handled and studied, this jug is among the finest in terms of form, decorative accents and decorative manganese splashed glaze. One archaeological dig in Salem Massachusetts (Narbonne House Site) yielded over 50,000 fragments of lead glazed redware vessels dating from the 1680s to 1850s, and while I was able to examine about 30% of the redware collection, I do not recall any redware vessels that were as nicely spattered or sponged with manganese coloring as the jug listed here. And if the next owner is also not 150% pleased with this jug, then she or he may send this pitcher back for a refund because this antique American colonial redware pitcher comes with a full satisfaction `no quibble' guarantee.
SIZE: This pitcher stands 8 1/4 inches tall and has a maximum belly diameter that measures 6 1/2 inches across. It has a slightly concave base with a diameter of 4 1/4 inches and a rim opening that is about 4 3/4 to 5 inches across excluding the pouring spout. The pitcher is a perfect size for displaying on a shelf, along a fireplace mantle, out in the open on a table, or in a china cabinet or corner hutch.
CONDITION: This pitcher is in very good condition with just a couple of minor declarations to note. First, it has a very tight hairline that is not easy to see that starts at the rim above the handle and runs downward for about 1.5 inches while gently turning to the left before running another 2 inches and then vanishing. The hairline is nearly invisible on the exterior of the jug. There is a photograph of the exterior of the hairline with a yellow pencil pointing directly to it and yet the hairline is not readily visible. The only other declaration is a shallow 5/8 inch long double chip along the rim of the jug midway to the right of the handle, (see all photos). Beyond that, the jug has some minor roughness along the top of the rim, and also some roughness along back of the handle from use and wear (also, there is a small 5/16 long kiln contact scar on the back of the handle, too that shows up as the largest unglazed area in the photo of the handle). Beyond these, the pitcher has no other chips or hairlines and absolutely no star cracks, stains, major scratches, repairs or restorations. The glaze is shiny and bright and has no readily noticeable crazing. Genuine use wear is present around the belly and along the rim but this wear is not beyond what is acceptable among the very best redware pieces collected today . A better example of evenly splashed manganese decorated redware would be hard to find today without paying another $500+ over what is offered here. Thanks for visiting and it may be a long time before another quality manganese spattered American redware jug is listed again if you happen to let this one get away.
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Item ID: RL433.a1135
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