STYLE: The exuberant cobalt decoration differs from the brushwork on other Alexandria stoneware potters. Similar decorations appear on pottery with an “H.SMITH & CO.” stamp, and Jarbour’s name is listed below merchant Hugh Smith’s in Alexandria tax records from 1826 to 1833, and again in 1841, indicating that Jarbour worked at various times at the Wilkes Street Pottery owned by Smith with both John Swann and Benedict C. Milburn.
MAKER: In 1820 David Jarbour purchased his freedom with assistance from the Alexandria, Virginia merchant Zenas Kinsey, a Quaker abolitionist, for $300. Ten years later he created this immense jar marked on its base “1830 / Alexa / Maid By / D. Jarbour.” In 1831, the following year, John Swann (b. 1789), who had overseen the Wilkes Street Pottery, left Alexandria. Jarbour may have created this ambitious pot to exhibit his advanced skills in a bid for the top job at the Wilkes Street Pottery.
Wilder, Eddie L. “Alexandra, Virginia Pottery 1792-1876.” Marceline, MO: Wadsworth Publishing Company, 2007.
Magid, Barbara. “‘Stone-ware of excellent quality, Alexandria manufacture, Part I: The Pottery of John Swann.’” CERAMICS IN AMERICA (2012) 111-145.