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Lowndes, Henry
Place Made:
Petersburg Virginia United States of America
Date Made:
stoneware –salt-glazed
HOA: 16″; DIA: 8 5/8″
Accession Number:
With a characteristic squared rim combined with the slip trailed signature on one side that reads, “Henry Lowndes / Maker / Petersburg Virginia / 1841,” this salt-glazed stoneware jar is an excellent example of Henry Lowndes’ work. Thrown on a wheel and with a graceful ovoid shape, there is also a slip-trailed chainlike design between the handles on both sides, and a brushed floral design that can be connected to archaeological material from the location of Lowndes’ shop. The handles are pulled or extruded clay that was placed on the shoulder of the jar horizontally and then cut off at the ends, creating what is often referred to as “lug” handles.

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

MAKER: Thomas Lowndes (d. 1811), the father of Henry Lowndes (d. 1842), was producing pottery in the northeastern region of Petersburg, Virginia, by 1806. Thomas Lowndes was an immigrant from the Staffordshire district in England, and although little evidence of his work exists, the work of his son Henry is an example of the skills he likely passed on to his children. Thomas Lowndes died in 1811 and left the pottery factory to his sons. Henry Lowndes would become the most notable and his work was distinctive. The Lowndes pottery was sold to brothers John (1824-1878) and Thomas Ducey (1822-1867) in 1855. Henry Lowndes made several pots similar to this example. Nearly all are signed, and those that are dated use the year 1841.

Umstott, Charles E.”The Lowndes Stoneware Pottery of Petersburg, Virginia.” Journal of Early Southern Decorative Arts (Winter 1995) 83-97.

Russ, Kurt, Robert Hunter, Oliver Mueller-Heubach, Marshall Goodman, “The Remarkable 19th-Century Stoneware of Virginia’s Lower James River Valley.” CERAMICS IN AMERICA (2013) 246-248.

Credit Line:
MESDA Purchase Fund