MAKER: Solomon Bell (1817-1882) was the youngest of Peter Bell’s sons to make pottery. Peter Bell was a prominent potter in Hagerstown, Maryland, and Winchester, Virginia. Solomon Bell trained for many years under his father before leaving in 1839 for several years to work with his brother John in Waynesboro. Solomon Bell started marketing his pottery in Winchester, Virginia in 1843, and then moved to Strasburg in 1845 where he went into partnership with his brother Samuel throughout the 1850s. Ceramic historian H.E. Comstock has speculated that Bell’s production of this form might have been inspired by the sign of the Red Lion Tavern, which was located just a few blocks from the family pottery in Winchester. Shenandoah Valley potters like the Bells, Anthony Bacher (1824-1889), and members of the Eberly family excelled in the production of modeled animals, fancy hollow ware, wall pockets, watch holders and other decorative ceramics popular during the last half of the nineteenth century. Most potters engaged in this type of work also made a broad range of utilitarian vessels in both stoneware and earthenware.
Comstock, H.E. THE POTTERY OF THE SHENANDOAH REGION. Winston-Salem, NC: MESDA, 1994.