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18th C Dutch Polychrome Delft Tin Glazed Apothecary Jar ‘A DIASC: SYLV:’
Late 1700s polychrome delftware apothecary jar (i.e., late 18th century) with hand painted label in high temperature yellow and manganese purple. The thick tin glaze is tinted blue and has a kwaart glost that gives it a nice sheen. The jar would have had a delft cover and would have been used to hold a compound or drug called A DIASC: SYLV:. Exactly what this compound may have consisted of is unknown and my searches have produced no helpful results other than the fact that A DIASC: SYLV occurs on both blue and white delft jars as well as on polychrome decorated jars like the one offered here but in different cartouches and labels. The label on this jar is particularly interesting since it accurately mimics old parchment style labels that would have had titles hand written or printed in iron gall ink. Iron gall ink turns brown over time and the old parchment paper labels would also yellow as they aged. The manganese purple used to make the letters on this delft jar appears brown since it was painted over the yellow. The end result is that from a distance, the label on this jar looks very much like a very old paper label but its appearance today is the same as it first appeared some 200 to 240 years ago. Blue & white delft or faience drug jars similar to this one but with different style labels are far more common than those painted in colors (than polychrome jars). In the past 10 years, an auction of four tin glazed polychrome apothecary jars shaped exactly like this one but with original covers were valued at $1200 to $1600 each. And one of the jars was labeled `A DIASC: SYLV:'. If any viewer knows the common name or composition of A DIASC: SYLV, please drop me an email and I'll add your info to this listing along with a thank you credit.
The age of this jar ranges from the 1760s up the about 1810. There is an old exporter's sticker tag on the bottom of this jar with the name `Neuman & Vettin' and `Amsterdam' and which suggests that this jar was likely shipped out of Holland in the early to mid 20th century. There are also six small brown felt feet (round circles) on the bottom of the jar added decades ago to protect it from further accidental chipping or damage (see photos). There are no maker's marks on the bottom of this jar and their absence is common on Dutch delftware produced before 1800. Tin glazed replicas produced in the last 140 years, however have a much greater frequency of pseudo or counterfeit delft makers marks than one encounters among the thousands of unmarked Dutch delftware pieces produced before 1800. This jar is an antique and was made by using a mold to form its shape and produce the jar in two half sections that were then joined together before glazing. There are small pieces of clay on the inside bottom of the jar that were deposited when the rim was trimmed and finished (see photo of inside bottom of jar). These small pieces of clay were covered by the tin glaze and can be seen stuck to the bottom of the jar. The use of a mold to form this jar was warranted since it allowed the pottery to produce hundreds of jars of a standardized size and shape. Standardized jars would have been preferred by merchants who carried large apothecary inventories. The protruding rings at the top and bottom of the jar listed here made it easy for the druggist to shelve dozens of apothecary jars side by side and yet still be able to remove one by grasping it from the center. The protruding rings leave enough room between each jar for the druggist to place his fingers and remove just the jar he wants more easily than straight sided jars without the rings. Since the apothecary jar listed here was made using a mold, the standardizing of its shape and size would have allowed very efficient shelving of them side by side by the dozens or hundreds.
The photos illustrate that this is a wonderful drug or medicinal compound jar in superb condition. It dates from the period when apothecary establishments were expanding and their drug inventories were becoming more commercialized in the larger cities and towns. Also, industrialization of pottery production resulted in replacing hand thrown drug jars with those produced using two-piece molds in order to more efficiently produce standardized jar shapes and sizes. Hand painting the medicinal compound label using high temperature enamels indicates that delftware potteries were happy to meet a growing demand for their wares. In the late 1700s, tin glazed pottery production overall was declining as creamware, porcelain and other more refined wares captured the majority of the market concerning table and teawares. Tin glazed potteries however continued to compete among storage and utilitarian wares, but this success only lasted into the first decade or two of the 1800s. The jar listed here captures this shift in the commercialization of apothecary jars as potteries used press molds to standardize certain storage wares while they abandoned table and teawares as the demand for tin glazed plates, cups, bowls, teapots, and etc., dramatically declined. So if you are looking for a nice antique late 1700s tin glazed apothecary jar from the Netherlands, then make sure you seriously consider this polychrome one while it is still available. And as always, this delftware jar also comes with my Docs Antiques 100% satisfaction guarantee or you may return it using my return policy for a refund (see full Return Policy details farther below).
SIZE: This jar stands 7 3/8 inches tall, has a maximum outside diameter of about 4 1/2 inches across, and has an inner mouth diameter or opening of about 3 5/8 inches (inside diameter). It weighs just over 1 1/2 lbs empty and rests on a low rounded foot ring that was wipe dry of any tin glaze (see all photos). This jar is comparatively large that will display well whether placed on a shelf, table, counter, mantle or other setting and will certainly capture attention and conversation.
CONDITION: This 200+ year old apothecary jar is in excellent condition with no large chips, no hairlines nor body cracks, no stains, no major scratches, no repairs and no restorations. The jar does have about a dozen small glaze chips along its base rim where just the tin glaze was detached and chipped off over years of use. These glaze chips measure from 1/4 inch to 1/8 inches long (see all photos). The rim and body of this jar have no chips and the glaze is shiny and intact. There is a small spot on the inside of the jar just below the rim where no tin glaze covers the clay that is about the size of a thumb tip (see photo of jar tipped at an angle for a view of this unglazed spot). The inside bottom of the jar has some small pieces of clay also covered by the tin glaze that are probably trimmings left behind from finishing the rim before the jar was glazed and fired. The glaze has coarse crazing that is caused by the extra kwaart covering added over the tin glaze. Kwaart is a thin lead glaze added over top of the tin glaze and polychrome grand feu decoration to give the vessel a glossy sheen. The result is a beautiful delft jar that is in wonderful condition, and f the buyer is not 100% satisfied for any reason, then she/he may return this jar for a refund (see our refund policy noted below).
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Dr. Moir, Frisco, TX
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