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Schermerhorn, John Poole __Attributed to
Place Made:
Henrico County Virginia United States of America
Date Made:
salt glazed –stoneware
HOA: 14 5/8″; WOA: 11″
Accession Number:
The decoration on this salt-glazed jar by John Poole Schermerhorn expresses one sentiment–Andrew Jackson was a hero. On one side of the jar is a brushed cobalt slip depiction of Jackson in military uniform wielding a sword in his right hand. On the reverse is a profile of Andrew Jackson, also executed in brushed cobalt slip, as is the inscription “A. JACKSON.” This is one of three known Schermerhorn pieces to honor Andrew Jackson as the “greatest man of his age.” He was revered as a military hero for his defeat of the British in the Battle of New Orleans in 1815, but his perceived opposition to elitism also endeared him to laborers, including potters.

Thrown on a wheel and having strap handles that are flush with the side of the vessel and pinched at the ends, the jar has a characteristic ovoid shape, pronounced neck, and strong rim that is rounded on top and angular underneath.

Salt glazing was a technique used by stoneware potters to create a glassy surface. When the pottery kiln reached over 2000 degrees Fahrenheit, salt was introduced into the kiln, creating a vapor. This vapor adhered to the silica in the clay, forming a glassy appearance on the pottery. Because of the high temperature at which the pottery was fired, the clay often became non-porous, or vitrified. This, combined with the salt glazing, meant that potters did not have to apply a glaze to the interior of the vessel. It could hold liquids and not seep, unlike earthenware storage vessels.

MAKER: Born in New York, John Poole Schermerhorn (1788-1850) first appeared in Virginia records as a potter in 1814. Schermerhorn was briefly employed at Benjamin DuVal’s factory before leaving to pursue pottery production under his own name in 1817. He located his pottery at Rockett’s, a primary port in Richmond, Virginia, in Henrico County, and was very successful there for 20 years– between 1817 and 1837. Schermerhorn had an additional pottery located outside of Richmond at Montezuma, established in 1828. This piece was made at either the Richmond factory or the Montezuma location.

Russ, Kurt C., Robert Hunter, Oliver Mueller-Heubach, and Marshall Goodman. “The Remarkable 19th-Century Stoneware of Virginia’s Lower James River Valley.” CERAMICS IN AMERICA (2013): 200-258.

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