Kosse, TX, Stoneware Temperance Snake Jug

January 30, 2010 Stoneware Auction

Lot #: 176

Price Realized: $17,250.00
($15,000 hammer, plus 15% buyer's premium).

January 30, 2010 Auction Catalog

◀ Back to Catalog

Exceedingly Rare and Important Texas Stoneware Temperance Jug with Applied Figural Decorations and Painted Surface, Signed J.L. STONE, Kosse, TX, late 19th century, ovoid jug with rounded spout, decorated with the hand-modeled head of a man, painted white with blue eyes, red lips, and blue shirt, protruding from the shoulder of the jug. The head is underscored by the inscription "The Result" within an oval. A snake, which forms the jug's handle, attempts to swallow the man by his head. A second large snake slithers around the reverse and side of the jug. A lizard and centipede further decorate the front. A human body figure wearing a red shirt, pants, and cowboy boots, extends from one side of the jug, surrounded by the incised words "First Attempt". Above the figure is banner with the slogan "Go in lemmons (sic) and come out squeezed". Applied knot holes and a roughly-incised surface give the jug a rustic, bark-like appearance. Incised in a white-painted scroll on one side "J.F. Johnson & J.W. Dillon / MANUFACTURERS/ OF / ALL KINDS OF / STONEWARE / Kosse Texas." Opposite side incised within a white-painted plaque "MADE & PRESENTED TO THE Fire Brick & Tile Company By J.L. STONE". A small applied brick, incised "Timse's Best" likely refers to a potter at the fire brick and tile company, for which the jug was made. A truly remarkable example of Southern folk art. Temperance jugs of this style were evocative of the evils of alcohol consumption. It is unclear whether or not such vessels were actually made in support of the Temperance Movement, serving to warn people of alcohol's dangerous results. Many agree today that such jugs were more light-hearted in tone and did not actually intend to deter casual drinking. Most such jugs were produced by Wallace and Cornwall Kirkpatrick in Anna, IL, during the last quarter of the 19th century. A stoneware spaniel in possession of the Bayou Bend Collection at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, is inscribed "J. L. S." and was also made by John L. Stone; according to an article discussing the museum's accession of the dog--published in the March 2003 issue of the Magazine Antiques--Stone came from Illinois and worked in various potteries in Limestone County, TX. His Illinois heritage suggests he trained or otherwise worked directly with the Kirkpatricks. Wear to paint on spout. Chip to one snake's upper jaw and loss to much of same snake's body. Missing an applied snake, with only a few segments of body remaining. Loss to lizard's snout. Lizard missing tail. Missing a second lizard or other animal at shoulder, with only two legs remaining. Human figure on front possibly missing hands. This damage is common to pieces of this type, and it appears that much of it occurred in the firing. The smoothness of the lost segments suggest the applied decoration may not have adhered properly to the jug when made and separated from it during the firing. Furthermore, much of the paint on the jug's surface covers the damage, indicating the damage occurred sometime during, or shortly after, its manufacture. H 11".


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Bidding is now closed.
(Our next auction takes place March 24, 2018.)

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