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Chandler, Thomas
Place Made:
Edgefield County South Carolina United States of America
Date Made:
stoneware –alkaline-glazed
HOA: 18″; WOA: 14 1/2″
Accession Number:
Thrown on a wheel and alkaline-glazed, this ovoid stoneware jar was made by Thomas Chandler near Edgefield, South Carolina. Thomas Chandler is most noted for his decorative slip trailing, as seen on this piece. On one side the name “Mr. B. Harland” is slip trailed in an iron slip, and “Chandler / Maker / 1844” is slip-trailed on the opposite side, also in an iron slip. On both sides beneath the lettering is a decorative slip-trailed swag. On opposite sides of the shoulder, lug handles are placed against the side of the jar. Alkaline glaze is a mix of clay and ash or lime that acted as a flux. The interior is not fully glazed. It was likely dipped into a vat of glaze with the rim down, glazing some of the interior and coating the exterior, but not all the way to the base. The overall appearance of the glaze is much more matte than that found on other alkaline-glazed pieces made in the Edgefield district in the second quarter of the nineteenth century.The date “1844” places Thomas Chandler in partnership with John Trapp at what is called the Trapp-Chandler pottery site in Kirksey’s Crossroad, Greenwood County, South Carolina. A man by the name of Harlan is listed on the 1850 census as a blacksmith in the same area.

MAKER: Thomas Mitchel Chandler, Jr. (1810-1854) was born in Accomack County, Virginia. His family moved to Baltimore in 1817 and there Thomas developed into an extraordinary potter. Thomas’s future was partly determined by his father’s move to Baltimore. As a chairmaker, Chandler’s father bought property in a district with many other craftspeople, including five major potters: Henry Remmey, Sr., Henry Myers, David Parr, Elisha Parr, and William Amoss. Henry Myers probably trained Thomas Chandler; Chandler’s first dated and signed piece resembles pieces made in Henry Myers’s shop in the 1820s.

Chandler left Baltimore in 1829 and between 1829 and 1832 may have traveled as an itinerant potter. In 1832 he was in Albany, New York, where he enlisted in the U.S. Army. The Army sent Chandler south to Augusta, Georgia, and between 1832 and 1836 he served in various capacities and likely worked with several potters in Georgia. Scholar Philip Wingard estimates that Chandler was in Edgefield, South Carolina, working by 1836, since several of his pieces with decorative slip work and dated 1836 have survived in the region. He worked in various pottery factories and with various partners in the region until he had his own shop by 1850. In 1852, though, he and his family left for North Carolina where he died in 1854.

Wingard, Phillip. “From Baltimore to the South Carolina Backcountry: Thomas Chandler’s Influence on 19th-Century Stoneware.” CERAMICS IN AMERICA, 2013, 38-76.

This jar is believed to have been made for Benjamin Harling, who is listed as a blacksmith in the 1850 U.S. census for Edgefield District.
Credit Line:
The William C. and Susan S. Mariner Collection