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Smith, James P. __Retailer ||Milburn, Benedict Calvert __Attributed to
Place Made:
Alexandria Virginia United States of America
Date Made:
salt glazed –stoneware
HOA: 7 7/8″; WOA: 5 3/4″
Accession Number:
Salt-glazed and made of stoneware clay, this Alexandria, Virginia, jar was thrown on a wheel and displays a variety of slip-trailed designs executed in cobalt blue slip. Archaeologist and scholar Barbara Magid estimates that slip trailing on Alexandria wares from the James P. Smith shop dates between 1847 and 1854, based on marks and forms that can be specified to that time. The stamp on one side reads “I.P. SMITH” for retailer James P. Smith. The jar can be tightly dated between 1850 and 1854, because in 1850, merchant Hugh Charles Smith died and his brother James P. Smith ran their retail shop until 1854 when the business was sold.

MAKER: Born in St. Mary’s County, Maryland, Benedict Calvert Milburn (1805-1867), may have worked with John Swann at the Wilkes Street pottery in Alexandria prior to 1831, but records show that he was certainly working for the stoneware manufacturer Hugh Smith, father of Hugh Charles and James P. Smith, by 1833. Milburn purchased the Wilkes Street pottery himself in 1841, but continued to provide stoneware for the Smith family’s retail business. Milburn’s sons continued the pottery business after his death until 1876.

Magid, Barbara H. “‘Stone-ware of excellent quality, Alexandria manufacture’ Part II: The Pottery of B. C. Milburn.” CERAMICS IN AMERICA (2013) 77-119.

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