• Stoneware/Redware
Lot 79

STAMPED "J. SWANN / ALEXA", ALEXANDRIA, VIRGINIA DECORATED STONEWARE PITCHER

Estimate: $1,000 - $2,000
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 "J. SWANN / ALEXA", ALEXANDRIA, VIRGINIA DECORATED STONEWARE PITCHER, salt-glazed, "2" gallon capacity mark, ovoid form with collared rim, a single-incised shoulder ring, beaded foot, and applied strap handle. Brushed cobalt alternating tassel and flower ornaments repeated five times to shoulder, a solid band below rim, and floral bud with horizontal foliate design to neck, additional cobalt to handle terminals. John Blake Swann (1789-aft. 1831), "Stone-Ware Manufactory" / Swann Pottery / Wilkes Street pottery, Alexandria, VA. 1819-1822. 12 3/4" H, 5 3/4" D rim, 6 1/4" D base.
Published: Hunter (ed.) - Ceramics in America 2013, "'Stoneware of excellent quality, Alexandria manufacture' Part I: The Pottery of John Swann" by Barbara Magid, p. 126, fig. 16. Wilder - Alexandria, Virginia Pottery, 1792-1876, p. 40, fig. JS002.
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.

Condition

Excellent condition, except having a faint hairline to interior rim that does not appear to go through to exterior and scattered chips and flakes to foot edge.

Collection of the late Al and Billy Steidel, Alexandria, VA.
Glen Goetz, Falls Church, VA, 4/19/1994.