Lot 504
  • 504

Rare covered glazed red earthenware jar with sgraffito tulip decoration, possibly by Conrad Mumbouer (1761-1845) or John Monday (1809-1862) Haycock Township, Bucks County, Pennsylvania, 1830-1840

30,000 - 40,000 USD
bidding is closed


  • Glazed red earthenware


George Horace Lorimer, Philadelphia
Bernard and S. Dean Levy, New York, 1977


On loan to IBM from the George Horace Lorimer Collection, c. 1942-1977


American Radiance: The Ralph Esmerian Gift to the American Folk Art Museum, p. 135, figs. 95A-C

Catalogue Note

Interrelationships resulting from apprenticeship training, work indentures, and intermarriage were common among Pennsylvania's early potters, and the resulting stylistic ties and parallels in production techniques often make the works of closely related artisans difficult to differentiate. This is clearly illustrated in the work histories and productions of potters Conrad Mumbouer (or Mumbower) and his son-in-law John Monday (or Mondau). This straight-walled jar or canister with sgraffito decoration scratched through an overall yellow slip is typical of the shared forms and decoration produced by both these potters during the second quarter of the nineteenth century. Influencing a wide circle of local potters during the first half of the nineteenth century through various apprenticeships and contractual employment in their shop, Mumbouer and Monday are typical of several local intergenerational pottery family dynasties that developed within the small mercantile and agrarian economies of the region.

Mumbouer is first recorded as a potter working in Haycock Township with the potters Michael and Henry Stoneback, with whom he probably apprenticed. In 1793, after Henry's death, the operation was transferred to Mumbouer. By 1798 he had improved and expanded it to encompass "1 old log house, 1 log barn and 1 pottery shop, 30 by 15'."1 The property adjoined the pottery of Joseph and Henry Mills, and he maintained a close tie with these potters as well as with the sons of the Stonebacks, who remained in the area as potters. In 1831 Mumbouer took on as an apprentice John Monday, who, in 1834, married his daughter, Phebe. Father and son-in-law continued to work side by side until the elder potter died in 1845. In his will, he transferred "211 acres and my pottery, together with privilege of taking and converting for his own use all clay in and upon the lot" to Monday.2 Later apprentices to the operation included German immigrants Mathias Myer and Charles Moritz and Monday's sons Edmund (1835-?) and David (1846-?). Upon Monday's death in 1862, the family pottery, which had operated along Kimbel's Creek at the base of Haycock Mountain since its founding in 1794, was sold to potter Simon Singer for $2,500.3 -J.L.L.

1 Information based on Garvan, Collection.
2 Ibid.
3 For further genealogical information, related examples attributed to the two potters, and similar examples of interconnections among potting families, see ibid., pp. 184-86, 364-65, biographical index.