• Stoneware/Redware
Lot 29


Estimate: $2,000 - $3,000
Sold for

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

STAMPED "H. SMITH & CO.", ALEXANDRIA, VIRGINIA DECORATED STONEWARE LARGE JAR, salt-glazed, "6" gallon capacity mark, bold ovoid form with rounded rim and applied arched tab handles. Exuberantly brushed cobalt floral design featuring an open blossom framing the stamp with a verdant central stem having several leafy stems extending to sides, additional cobalt to handle terminals and bold band encircling foot. Possibly David Jarbour for Hugh Smith (1769-1856), Wilkes Street pottery, Alexandria, VA. 1825-1830. 17 3/8" H, 7 1/2" D rim.
Published: Wilder - Alexandria, Virginia Pottery, 1792-1876, p. 114, figs. HS029 and HS029a; stamp p. 319, Mk V.
Literature: For further information on Jarbour see the Journal of Early Southern Decorative Arts, 2021-2022, vols. 42-43, "...my friend David Jarboe...": The Unfinished Portrait of an Alexandria Potter, by Angelika R. Kuettner. Hunter (ed.) - Ceramics in America 2012, "'Stoneware of excellent quality, Alexandria manufacture' Part I: The Pottery of John Swann," by Barbara H. Magid, pp. 133-134, 138-139. Wilder - Alexandria, Virginia Pottery: 1792-1876, p. 36-37; stamp p. 319, fig. Mk IV. Myers - The Potters' Art: Salt-Glazed Stoneware of Nineteenth-Century Alexandria, p. 23.
Catalogue Note: While the jar is stamped for "HUGH SMITH", he was never a potter by trade. Smith hired numerous skilled potters and decorators to work for his shop on Wilkes Street including African Americans and those of European descent. Even though this piece is unsigned, the floral decoration exhibited on this jar closely parallels designs exhibited on vessels identified as being potted and decorated by David Jarbour, a free African American potter working for Smith from 1826 to 1833. A signed David Jarbour vessel housed in the MESDA collection exhibits a strikingly similar open blossom flower with the same exuberant leafy stems. The design also strongly parallels the floral decoration observed on Lot 11 in our current auction. While the blossoms are distinct, the foliated radiating stems are assuredly by the same hand. 
Hugh Smith was born in Knutsford, England in 1769. Immigrating to America in 1795, he founded a successful china mercantile business in Alexandria that would include his nephew Thomas Smith and eventually his eldest son Hugh Charles. Smith built numerous relationships with a variety of businesses in the city including John Swann's Wilkes Street pottery. By 1817, the American economy began to wane and Swann's pottery began to struggle financially and by 1821, the Wilkes Street pottery was mortgaged to Smith for the sum of $500. In 1825, Hugh Smith became the sole owner of the business after Swann was jailed in debtors prison. Smith, never a trained artisan himself, hired skilled potters and decorators, both African American and white, to work for him at the Wilkes Street pottery including David Jarbour. By 1830, Smith relinquished managerial responsibilities at the pottery to his son Hugh Charles. Three years afterward, Hugh Charles left the pottery, returning full time to the family mercantile business. At this time, the senior Smith officially leased the Wilkes Street pottery to potter and employee B.C. Milburn and by 1841, had sold the business to Milburn. Hugh Smith died in 1856, at the age of 88.


Having a V-shaped crack to base, one arm extending from base to rim on back with some applied epoxy/glue to interior and other arm extending to decoration on front, one handle having a chip to one terminal, remaining handle having moderate chipping to underside, and having a 7 1/2" x 5" reconstructed area to base. Manufacturing flaws including some glaze bubbling, as made.

Collection of the late Al and Billy Steidel, Alexandria, VA.
Susan Burgess estate sale, 7/20/1995.