Salt glazed Stoneware Jar
Brushed Cobalt Decoration
Wilkes Street Pottery
Alexandria, Virginia
Circa 1845
6 3/4″ tall

Hugh Charles Smith (1804-1854) was the son of Alexandria merchant Hugh Smith and was active in the management of the Wilkes Street pottery which the elder Smith had purchased from potter John Swann in 1821. The Smiths employed B.C. Milburn (probably a Swann apprentice) to run the pottery and eventually sold the operation to him in 1841. H.C. Smith continued to purchase pottery from Milburn for his mercantile concerns which he marketed with his stamp as his father had done previously. Since this jar is stamped Alexandria DC, it can be dated to the period prior to 1847 when Alexandria would retrocede from the District of Columbia and return to Virginia.
Stamped with the Smith mark and its 1/2 gallon capacity stamp, this crock is unusually small measuring only 6 ¾” – 6 7/8” tall. It has a hand brushed horizontal cobalt decoration of a design found frequently on Wilkes Street pottery. On the back side of the crock are hooked chain links, which by legend were painted by slaves working at the pottery as symbols of their bondage. The jar is similar to several illustrated in Wilder’s Alexandria , Virginia Pottery 1792-1876, HSC020a, page 141.

An early finely formed example in a very desirable size with attractive decoration.
This crock is in excellent condition. There are small chips on the base and a chip on the interior rim.


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Christopher H. Jones Antiques

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