Lot 511
  • 511

Rare glazed red earthenware jar with tulip decoration, attributed to Christian Klinker (act. 1773-1798) Nockamixon Township, Bucks County, Pennsylvania, 1780-1795

10,000 - 20,000 USD
11,250 USD
bidding is closed


  • Glazed red earthenware (lid missing)
Lid missing.


Joe Kindig Jr., York, Pennsylvania, 1971


American Radiance: The Ralph Esmerian Gift to the American Folk Art Museum, p. 130, fig. 90

Catalogue Note

Few surviving hollowware forms of decorated Pennsylvania earthenware can be firmly dated prior to 1800. The tendency within many traditional communities to maintain early utilitarian forms and decorative motifs in the face of changing preference or fashion and the pattern of intergenerational apprenticeships within many potting families resulted in the retention of earlier eighteenth-century styles well into the nineteenth century. Unfortunately little is known of many of the eighteenth-century potters producing in the region; their operations and activities predated most of the periodic census, birth, and tax records that were standardized by the early nineteenth century in most rural Pennsylvania communities.

Several aspects of the fabrication and glaze character of this jar relate it to the earliest traditions of redware production among the Germanic potters working in Pennsylvania and specifically to the work of Christian Klinker, who is listed in surviving real estate documents as an "earthen potter." Several extant pots of similar form, thinly constructed with a raised lid rim flange integral to the base, bear the initials "C.K." on their bases and are decorated with the same light-orange lead glaze, unevenly applied over densely pigmented yellow, green, and black slip decoration.1 Utilitarian earthenware forms with covers resting on raised base rim flanges are found on Continental Swiss, Austrian, and German hollowware examples dating from the late seventeenth century, and it is from these earlier traditions that Klinker and his contemporaries in Pennsylvania probably drew their aesthetic preferences and technical training.

The clays used in this example show little evidence of extensive milling or refining to remove the natural impurities that often characterize nineteenth-century redware. Its dark red color is indicative of a high iron content, which later potters often diluted by adding other clays to their recipes. This high iron content frequently contributed to glaze inconsistencies as chemical changes occurred during the firing process, resulting in color shifts and a lack of proper adherence to the surface of the finished form. -J.L.L.

1 See Garvan, Collection, pp. 177, 207, 361. Also, a low-form handled bowl, descended in the Klinker family and recently acquired by PMA, relates closely to this jar.