Extremely Rare J. & E. NORTON / BENNINGTON, VT Stoneware Jug w/ Mythical Creature and Bird Designs

July 19, 2014 Stoneware Auction

Lot #: 150

Price Realized: $16,100.00
($14,000 hammer, plus 15% buyer's premium).

July 19, 2014 Auction Catalog

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Possibly Unique One-Gallon Stoneware Jug with Folky Cobalt Decoration of a Human-Headed Animal Looking at a Bird, Stamped "J. & E. NORTON / BENNINGTON, VT.," circa 1855, cylindrical jug with semi-squared spout, decorated with a slip-trailed design of a mythological creature of a four-legged animal with human head. This unique figural design features a turned head with stylized hair and pronounced chin, and faces a typical Norton bird-on-branch motif on the jug's front. While the exact identity of the animal is unknown, it may represent a sphinx, a mythological creature with a lion's body and human head. The distinctive hair or headdress of the figure in some ways resembles the headcoverings found on various depictions of sphinxes (such as that found on the Great Sphinx of Giza). From another standpoint, the figure may represent something from American Indian folklore, as the figure's hair style, with its shaved sides, raised strip of hair at the center, and long flowing hair at the back, somewhat resembles that of the Pawnee people, whose hairstyle, while somewhat similar to that of the Mohawks, would more accurately be called a predecessor to the modern “mohawk.” A visually-striking jug. Mythology seems to have played a small but important role in American stoneware decoration, and a select number of anthropomorphic creatures can be found on other examples, primarily early incised pieces. These include mermaids and mermen, devils, a minotaur, and various birds with human faces, among others. This jug is the only Norton example of such a design known. Provenance: A fresh-to-the-market example, found by the consignor in a Maine farmhouse over sixty years ago. Spout chips. Faint surface line on underside. H 11 1/8".


Extremely Rare J. & E. NORTON / BENNINGTON, VT Stoneware Jug w/ Mythical Creature and Bird DesignsExtremely Rare J. & E. NORTON / BENNINGTON, VT Stoneware Jug w/ Mythical Creature and Bird DesignsExtremely Rare J. & E. NORTON / BENNINGTON, VT Stoneware Jug w/ Mythical Creature and Bird DesignsExtremely Rare J. & E. NORTON / BENNINGTON, VT Stoneware Jug w/ Mythical Creature and Bird Designs

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

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