Extremely Rare Diminutive Stoneware Pitcher with Bold Cobalt Tulip Decoration, attributed to the James River Basin of Virginia, mid 19th century, squat-shaped, vasiform pitcher with ovoid body and flared rim, decorated with a boldly-brushed design of a spitting tulip emanating from a leafy stem. Spout decorated with horizontal dashes flanked by leaves. The distinctive tulip design on this pitcher is based upon a motif most commonly employed at the potteries of Stephen B. Sweeney in Henrico County, Virginia circa 1838-1863. The thick, oval petal designs on the pitcher can more specifically be found on a small number of elaborately-decorated jars from the James River basin, which bear Sweeney style motifs but a somewhat different potting style, possibly the work of an as-yet-unidentified potter. With exceptional size, strong decoration, and appealing vase-like form, this example is one of the finest Virginia stoneware pitchers we have offered in recent years. Provenance: A fresh-to-the-market example, purchased by the consignor years ago. Rim and spout chips. A 3/8" in-the-firing contact mark to right side of pitcher. A small, faint X-shaped surface line from rim on right side of pitcher, not visible on interior, as well as some faint lines to upper handle terminal, all of which appear to be in-the-firing. H 5 1/2".