Collections › MESDA Collection › Rundlet

Rundlet

Artist/Maker:
Albright, Jacob ||Loy, Henry
Place Made:
Alamance County North Carolina United States of America
Date Made:
1795-1820
Medium:
lead glazed earthenware
Dimensions:
HOA: 6 1/2″; WOA: 6 1/2″
Accession Number:
5813.15
Description:
Lead-glazed and made of earthenware clay, this barrel-shaped rundlet is a rare, intact example made in the St. Asaph’s district (then Orange County but now southern Alamance County) of North Carolina in the 18th-century. It was made by a potter from the Albright or Loy family. The form is wheel thrown, then trimmed on both flat ends. A neck for the opening of the rundlet was thrown on the wheel separately from the body of the piece and later, after the clay was set up, applied to the ovoid side. The abstract leaves on the rundlet, outlined with a white slip, have serrated edges and are filled in with green slip. The lead glaze applied over the slip decorations caused the white slip to appear yellow after firing. Scholar Luke Beckerdite has noted that this is the only known surviving North Carolina example of a rundlet with slip-trailed decoration

STYLE: Many of the surviving examples of North Carolina slipware are associated with Germanic craftsmen who worked in and around the St. Asaph’s district of Alamance County. The forms and motifs introduced by the first potters who settled in that area coalesced in southwestern Germany, arriving with immigrant craftsmen who initially settled in Berks County, Pennsylvania, and then persisted in making pottery in North Carolina from the middle of the eighteenth century to the middle of the nineteenth century. Slipware from the St. Asaph’s tradition differs significantly from that associated with the Moravians. Whereas the Moravians had a naturalistic vocabulary with theological underpinnings and appear to have limited their slip-trailing to dishes and plates, the St. Asaph’s potters used a wide range of motifs— stylized crosses and plant forms, fylfots, imbricated triangles, and other geometric designs—on both flat and hollow ware forms. Surviving examples of slip-decorated hollow ware include pitchers, tankards, bottles, flasks, barrels, bowls, and distinctive covered vessels referred to during the period as “sugar pots.”

The St. Asaph’s potters used dark brown and black grounds to a much greater extent than any other American earthenware potters. Ceramic fragments recovered at the site of Jacob Albright, Jr.’s., pottery document the production of earthenware with dark brown and black grounds and polychrome slip decoration. The decorative vocabulary of his pottery included marbleizing—a technique rare in southern slipware— as well as trailing in both abstract and naturalistic styles. Most of the archaeological fragments are from dishes, but bases from three mugs or tankards with polychrome banding survive.

MAKER: Much of the earthenware from the St. Asaph’s tradition centered on the closely allied Albright and Loy families. Jacob Albright (1753-1825) was listed as a “potter” as early as the 1800 tax records for St. Asaph’s district, and he was also the father-in-law of potter Henry Loy (1777-1825) and the grandfather of potter Solomon Loy (1805-after 1865).

Ceramic fragments recovered at the site of Jacob Albright’s pottery document the production of earthenware with dark brown and black grounds and polychrome slip decoration. The decorative vocabulary of his pottery included marbleizing—a technique rare in southern slipware— as well as trailing in both abstract and naturalistic styles. Most of the fragments are from dishes, but bases from three mugs or tankards with polychrome banding indicate that Albright’s pottery also made decorated hollow ware. “An Inventory and an Account of Sales of the Estate of Jacob Albright Decd,” dated March 24, 1825 listed two potter’s wheels, a glaze mill, a clay mill, a grindstone, a pipe mold, a stove mold, and numerous crocks, dishes, basons, jugs, pitchers, and sugar pots. The amount of equipment would have been sufficient for a modest workforce.

Beckerdite, Luke, Johanna Brown, and Linda Carnes-McNaughton. “Slipware from the St. Asaph’s Tradition.” CERAMICS IN AMERICA. Milwaukee, WI: Chipstone Foundation, 2010.

Carnes-McNaughton, Linda. “Solomon Loy: Master Potter of the Carolina Piedmont.” CERAMICS IN AMERICA. Milwaukee, WI: Chipstone Foundation, 2010.

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