American Decorative Arts
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Photo credit: Yale University Art Gallery
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Photo credit: Yale University Art Gallery


ca. 1800

Salt-glazed stoneware with cobalt blue decoration

12 3/8 × 8 3/4 in. (31.4 × 22.2 cm)
base: 5 1/2 in. (14 cm)
Gift of Mr. and Mrs. John Paul Remensnyder

Stoneware, made of clay containing silica and kaolin and fired at a higher temperature than earthenware, was first made in America early in the eighteenth century. Hard, thick-walled, inert, nonporous, and therefore ideal for salting, pickling, and storing acidic foodstuffs, stoneware became the dominant ceramic for utility vessels and containers in the years following the Revolution. With its wide mouth, sturdy hand grips, and ample, gently serpentine outline, this jar is among the earliest and finest examples. The New York City potters who made this jar between 1790 and 1810 were expert at decorating the gray, salt-glazed bodies of their wares with carefully incised figures filled in with brilliant blue cobalt-oxide glaze. This is an exceedingly rare example decorated on two sides; it has a large, striding lion on one side and a sinuous flower with radiating petals on the other.

Made in New York, New York
On view
19th century
Containers - Ceramics

Donald Blake Webster, Decorated Stoneware Pottery of North America (Rutland, VT: C.E. Tuttle Co., 1971), fig. 44, 161.

Handbook of the Collections, exh. cat. (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Art Gallery, 1992), 124, ill.

“Acquisitions 1977,” Yale University Art Gallery Bulletin 37, no. 1 (Fall 1978): 74.

Florence Mellows Montgomery, “Ceramics, Glass, and Textiles at Yale,” Antiques 117, no. 6 (June 1980): 1329, fig. 1.

Gerald W. R. Ward, “Elegance in Revolutionary America,” Craft Horizons XXXVI, no. 2 (1976): 55, ill.

“Early American Ceramics at Yale,” Ceramics Monthly 24 (May 1976): 21–23.

Charles F. Montgomery and Patricia E. Kane, eds., American Art: 1750–1800 Towards Independence, exh. cat. (Boston: New York Graphic Society, 1976), 244–45, no. 218, ill.

Note: This electronic record was created from historic documentation that does not necessarily reflect the Yale University Art Gallery’s complete or current knowledge about the object. Review and updating of such records is ongoing.