Friday, April 3, 2009
What a curious thing
I found this shard yesterday. I was walking through a cornfield adjacent to our house and this little fellow was just laying on the ground right in my path between two rows of corn. It's an old piece of a stoneware crock or jug. I couldn't believe that the piece of this pot that I found was the piece with a partial maker's mark. It reads, "JULIU" then "BEN". I assumed assumed this meant it was an old Bennington Pottery piece and looked it up online. Lucky for me Lura Woodside Watkins' book "Early New England Potters and Their Wares" is online in its entirety (here). So I looked to see if a Julius was associated with Bennington. Low and behold, Julius Norton was the grandson of Capt. John Norton who founded Bennington Pottery in 1793. Julius' mark dates from two different periods 1841-1844 and 1847-1850.
As you can see there is some flashing from the firing as well as some salt glazing. The inside is rich with the potter's (Julius Norton probably didn't make this pot, a slew of hired craftsmen potters would have actually done the throwing) throwing lines under the ubiqutous brown slip glaze.
I tend not to believe in fate, but I'll be damned on this one. I almost never walk through the cornfield, but this one time I do and a relic from a past I've been thinking a lot about recently appears at my feet. I'll be damned.