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Gardner, Lewis
Place Made:
Loudoun County Virginia United States of America
Date Made:
salt glazed –stoneware
HOA: 13 1/2″; WOA: 9″
Accession Number:
This ovoid salt-glazed stoneware jar has a rolled rim and a compressed neck that is narrower than the base. Two pulled handles were placed on opposite sides along the shoulder and flattened, creating lug handles. Cobalt blue slip surrounds both handles with a wreath-like design. The architectural image brushed onto the front of the jar is possibly a rendering of the Fairfax Quaker Meetinghouse in the town of Waterford in Loudoun County, Virginia. The structure bears a striking resemblance and layout to the gable end of the building, with a small shed-roofed structure and a fireplace located on the side. A cobalt blue bird perched on a branch is brushed onto the opposite side. Sherds from the Sycolin Road pottery site of Charles Lewis Gardner (c.1778-c.1850) bear resemblance to this jar and to other jars attributed to Gardner.

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: Based on research done for a preliminary archaeological report, the principal potter at Sycolin Road was Charles Lewis Gardner, whose family operated potteries in Loudoun County for three generations from the early 1800s through the 1860s. MESDA has identified his father-in-law, Charles Dunkin (c.1746-1808) as one of the earliest Loudoun County potters. Lewis Gardner was listed in the 1810 and 1820 censuses for Waterford township in Loudoun County, and he was consistently identified as a manufacturer or tradesman. His brother-in-law, George Dunkin/Duncan (1788-1854), was listed as a potter in the 1850 census for Loudoun County, and his son, William H. Gardner (1814-1894), was listed as a potter there in 1860.

Bertsch, Ackman, Hyland,, “‘Forgotten’: A Preliminary Report on the Sycolin Road Pottery,” Northern Virginia Community College, 2008.

The jar descended in the Gover, Matthews, and Chamberlin families of Loudoun County, which were closely associated with the Fairfax Quaker Meetinghouse in Waterford.
Credit Line:
The William C. and Susan S. Mariner Collection