• Stoneware/Redware
Lot 35


Estimate: $2,000 - $3,000
Sold for
Sold Price includes BP

Bid Increments

Price Bid Increment
$0 $10
$200 $25
$500 $50
$1,000 $100
$3,000 $250
$5,000 $500
$10,000 $1,000
$30,000 $2,500
$50,000 $5,000
$100,000 $10,000

RARE AND IMPORTANT STAMPED "S.C. MILBURN", ALEXANDRIA, VIRGINIA DECORATED STONEWARE LARGE PITCHER, salt-glazed, "3" gallon capacity mark, semi-ovoid form with beaded neck, double-incised rings to rim, neck, and shoulder, and applied strap handle. Brushed cobalt foliate decorations featuring seven-linked horizontal ornaments to shoulder and four vertical ornaments to neck, additional cobalt to handle terminals. Stephen Calvert Milburn (1833-1896), Wilkes Street pottery, Alexandria, VA. 1866-1873. 15 1/8" H, 7 1/4" D rim.
Published: Hunter (ed.) - Ceramics in America 2013, "'Stone-ware of excellent quality, Alexandria manufacture' Part II: The Pottery of B.C. Milburn" by Barbara Magid, p. 103, fig. 51. Wilder - Alexandria, Virginia Pottery, 1792-1876, p. 193, figs. SCM001, SCM001a, and SCM001b. 
Literature: Wilder - Alexandria, Virginia Pottery, 1792-1876, stamp as p. 325, fig. Mk XVI.
Catalogue Note: This large pitcher was made at the Wilkes Street pottery after Stephen Calvert Milburn, son of potter Benedict Cuthbert Milburn, began managing the business in 1865. During his tenure, the overwhelming majority of vessels made at the pottery were undecorated due to the cost of cobalt after the Civil War. This is one of only a few known decorated examples with the "S.C. MILBURN" stamp. Walker includes images of two additional decorated vessels in his book, Alexandria, Virginia Pottery, 1792-1876, a "1 1/2" gallon jar and a spittoon.
B.C. Milburn, Stephen's father, was the third owner of the Wilkes Street pottery located in Alexandria, VA. Born near St. Mary's City, MD, Milburn relocated to Alexandria, VA when he was 17-years-old. Hired by John Swann (the founder of the Wilkes Street pottery) in 1822, the young Milburn began a long, fruitful career in the pottery industry. It is unknown if Milburn maintained employment at Wilkes Street through Hugh Smith's tenure as manager (starting in 1825), however by 1833, documents provide evidence that Benedict officially began leasing the pottery from Hugh Charles Smith (the son of Hugh Smith). Milburn officially purchased the Wilkes Street pottery from Hugh Smith (elder) in 1841. Business flourished under Milburn until the Civil War, when work at the kilns was extinguished. The pottery remained quiet the remainder of the war until 1865, when Milburn's son, Stephen Calvert took up the business. Sadly, Benedict C. Milburn passed away in 1867, at the age of 62. After his death, his sons continued operating the Wilkes Street pottery until 1876, when William Lewis Milburn sold the pottery to the neighboring tannery, permanently closing the door on the Milburn pottery legacy.


Very good condition, having a faint rim hairline extending to beaded neck, a chip to foot edge, and handle professionally reconstructed.

Collection of the late Al and Billy Steidel, Alexandria, VA.
John Palmer Antiques, Purcellville, VA, 7/30/1985.