This is a fine example of early redware pottery, found in West Virginia and made in that area circa 1850. The shape of this beehive jug starts out as ovoid below the thick collar of the mouth, then follows a straight line down to the base. This puts the date some decades later than the true ovoid jug; potters began using the beehive shape because it was easier to pack side by side for transporting and quicker to make. The red clay body is covered by a reddish brown slip which did not cover a small area at the base (photograph #2) and as usual was not used on the bottom. The thick strap handle, pulled rather than applied, was fixed to the body of the jug with three fingers that left their curved marks.
This jug is in very good vintage condition, with a few glaze flakes and drips, clay impurities and nicks on the bottom but no cracks or chips. The cleft in the clay at the base, shown in photograph #3, was made during the potting. There are the typical tiny lumps and bumps of clay that were not smoothed out; these redware pieces were made as quickly as possible and not given the attention that "fancy" wares received. The jug stands 10 inches tall, has a 7 inch diameter base and weighs 5 1/2 pounds. It's a handsome piece of mid-nineteenth century redware.
© Linda Henrich
Photos by: Wayne Henrich
PYH 4167 - Sold