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Schermerhorn, John Poole __Attributed to
Place Made:
Henrico County Virginia United States of America
Date Made:
salt glazed –stoneware
HOA: 13 1/2″; WOA: 9 3/4″
Accession Number:
Cobalt blue slip gave potters the opportunity to brush and trail a host of patterns on their vessels. Brushed on one side of this jar made in the shop of John Poole Schermerhorn in or near Richmond, Virginia, is a large bird with a long, flourishing tail and long beak. 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 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, and was very successful for 20 years– between 1817 and 1837. Schermerhorn had an additional pottery located outside of Richmond at Montezuma, established in 1828. This jar was produced in either the Richmond or Montezuma shop, both in Henrico County.

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