Jeffrey S. Evans & Assoc., Inc. firstname.lastname@example.org
IMPORTANT TEXARKANA POTTERY SALT-GLAZED STONEWARE SPOUTING FISH JUG / PITCHER, tall fish modeled after a Majolica prototype, of curvaceous vertical body shape with large head and gaping spout mouth, thick upswept tail joining at top to form the handle, with highly detailed incised fins, gills, facial features, and scaled surface, leaping atop a circular base textured to resemble churning water, having "tobacco spit" brown Albany slip as well as cobalt slip, and seemingly a third purplish-black manganese-based slip used sparsely to highlight details including the eyeballs and gills. A thick salt glaze was applied during firing, seemingly spattered onto the pitcher itself, causing the brown glaze to run and streak across the surface. Attributed to the Texarkana Pottery, Texarkana, Arkansas. Circa 1880. 12 1/2" H.
Catalogue Note: This highly unique pitcher exhibits traits linking it stylistically to known or attributed Anna Pottery and "Anna school" stoneware pieces, comprising a group of molded figures inspired by European prototypes including Staffordshire spaniels, Majolica pitchers including an owl-form jug and a monkey-handled frog jug, and Majolica match holders. This particular "spouting fish" or "gurgle fish" pitcher was based on a Majolica design copied widely across Europe and America, though almost never seen in salt glazed stoneware, and decorated here with meticulous detail far beyond anything seen in mass-produced molded wares of the era. The influence of the Kirkpatrick "busywork" decorative approach is seen in the heavily incised and textured surface including a body almost completely covered in painstakingly hand-punched scales, likely done with a stylus. The glazing however, in particular the simultaneous usage of cobalt AND Albany slips, points more to the Kirkpatrick-indebted production of Jacob Bachley at Texarkana, as multi-color decorative treatments are considered atypical in Anna Pottery. Additionally, the distinct purplish manganese-slip "dab" decorating the fish's eyes strongly echoes the same treatment used to decorate the eyes of a snake on a keg-form snake jug, the famous "Rosetta stone" of Texarkana pottery, which surfaced in 2015. It seems likely that in the coming years, more and more pieces of this whimsical and highly artistic American stoneware pottery will come to light and further illuminate the ongoing mystery surrounding Bachley aka the masterful "Texarkana Pottery Man", his connection to the Kirkpatricks' Anna Pottery, and the Kirkpatricks' influence on pottery production at-large in the last quarter of the 19th century.
Literature: See Mathis - The Family, Kilns, & Stoneware of Kirkpatrick, pp. 326-328 for discussion of Texarkana Pottery. Research into, and reassessment of these "Anna school" stoneware objects is ongoing.
Excellent condition with light exterior wear/scratching. Manufacturing flaws including one shallow glazed-over chip to base edge, as made.
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