• Stoneware/Redware
Lot 81


Estimate: $400 - $600
Sold for

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$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 "J. SWANN / ALEXA", ALEXANDRIA, VIRGINIA DECORATED STONEWARE JAR, salt-glazed, approximately half-gallon capacity, ovoid form with rounded rim and double-incised shoulder rings. Brushed cobalt horizontal three-leaf-style ornaments repeated seven times to shoulder. John Blake Swann (1789-aft. 1831), "Stone-Ware Manufactory" / Swann Pottery / Wilkes Street pottery, Alexandria, VA. 1819-1822. 7 1/2" H, 4 3/4" D rim.
Published: Wilder - Alexandria, Virginia Pottery, 1792-1876, p. 43, fig. JS007.
Literature: Wilder - Alexandria, Virginia Pottery, 1792-1876, stamp as p. 317, fig. Mk I.
Catalogue Note: John Blake Swann was born in St. Mary's County, MD in 1789. After the loss of both his parents, Swann was apprenticed to potter Lewis W. Plum when he was 14-years-old. Following the completion of his apprenticeship, Swann founded the Wilkes Street pottery in Alexandria in 1811. The first years of the pottery were a success, however by 1817, America's economy began to wane and by 1819, the young country was in a full recession. Swann's business began to suffer and was in desperate need of a boost. In an ad from August 1819, he states that he had "been enabled lately to make a great improvement in his ware..." It is unknown what exactly he meant by this, but Wilder (Alexandria, Virginia Pottery, 1792-1876) theorizes that he may have started decorating his wares with cobalt at this time. It was also around this year that Swann began marking his pieces. Unfortunately, Swann's attempts to increase sales and dig himself out of debt were unsuccessful, he eventually resorted to selling the pottery to merchant Hugh Smith in 1825. Swann continued to work at the pottery through 1830 under Smith's management but by 1831, it is believed he moved West in search of greater opportunities.


Excellent, mostly undamaged condition, except having restoration to two rim chips.

Collection of the late Al and Billy Steidel, Alexandria, VA.