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Buck Family Pottery || __Attributed to
Place Made:
probably Wythe County Virginia United States of America
Date Made:
lead glazed earthenware
HOA: 8″; WOA: 5 3/4″
Accession Number:
The bottle has a low, bulbous base and a long, narrow neck with a rounded rim. Two incised lines with a sine wave between them encircle the shoulder of the bottle. The neck of the bottle was dipped in a dark manganese glaze, whereas the base of the bottle was dipped in only a clear lead glaze. This makes a juxtaposing color pattern on the bottle with dark brown on the neck and a warm red–the color of the clay body– on the base. Lead glaze was made up primarily of a lead oxide, most often red lead, that was ground, mixed with a clay so that the mixture would adhere to the pottery, and made liquid with water. Earthenware is a porous material and must have an applied glaze in order to hold liquids.

Made of earthenware clay and lead-glazed, this unique wheel-thrown bottle was likely made in southwest Virginia or East Tennessee. In that region the major pottery centers bordered the western branch of the Great Wagon Road that stretched from Roanoke, Virginia, to Knoxville, Tennessee.

MAKER: Johann Christian Buck (1769-1846) was born in Pennsylvania, but moved to North Carolina as a child with his family around 1780. Growing up on the Brushy Fork of Abbot’s Creek in present-day Davidson County, he would have been exposed to the Germanic potting traditions established by the nearby Moravians at Wachovia and the Albright/Loy family in Alamance County. In 1796, he moved to Wythe County, Virginia, married Christina Steffey, and established a family of potters that worked throughout the 19th century. Buck’s 1815 tax record noted that he owned a 366-acre farm on the south fork of Reedy Creek in Wythe County with three cabins, a small barn, and a potter’s kiln. Two of his sons, Abraham Buck (1798-1863) and John Christian Buck (1801-1879); his son-in-law Eli Cain (1815-1880); and three of his grandsons, Peter Buck (1826-1880), Felix Buck (1827-1889), and Ephraim Buck (1833-1909), were all identified as potters in US census records.

Moore, J. Roderick. “Earthenware potters along the Great Road in Virginia and Tennessee.” The Magazine Antiques, September 1983.

White, Betsy K. “Great Road Style.” Charlottesville: UVA Press, 2006.

Credit Line:
The William C. and Susan S. Mariner Collection