Stoneware jug attributed to African American potter David Jarbour is a top pick at Jeffrey S. Evans Feb. 9

David Jarbour, 10-gallon stoneware jug, $80,000-$120,000 at Jeffrey S. Evans.

MT. CRAWFORD, Va. — A stoneware 10-gallon jug attributed to David Jarbour (circa 1780s-1841) comes to market at Jeffrey S. Evans Friday, February 9 as part of the Al and Billy Steidel collection. Estimated at $80,000-$120,000, the jug and the complete catalogs for both Friday, February 9 and Saturday, February 10 are available for bidding at LiveAuctioneers.

The market continues to witness dramatic results for pottery created by both enslaved and emancipated African Americans of the 19th century. Names such as Thomas Commeraw and David Drake are well-known to collectors, but little is known about Jarbour. It is believed he was born in the late 1780s or early 1790s, based on his name appearing in the Free Negro Registers of Alexandria, District of Columbia in 1821, in which he was listed as being “about 33 years of age.” He had purchased his freedom from a local Quaker, Zenas Kinsey, in December of 1820 for $300, a noteworthy sum at the time.

Jarbour worked for Hugh Smith (1769-1856), owner of Wilkes Street Pottery in Alexandria, and signed some of his works. This example is stamped H. Smith & Co. and while it is unsigned, its decoration strongly suggests it was the work of Jarbour, based on other signed examples.

The jug features an elongated ovoid form with a rounded rim, an incised shoulder ring, and applied arched tab handles. Its finish includes brushed cobalt decorations such as an elaborate sunflower with a bullseye center and an open-bud, tulip-like flower. It stands 20.75in in height and is 10.25in in diameter at its base.

What makes this lot so interesting and desirable is its long history of appearing in publications on African American pottery. With nearly 100 LiveAuctioneers bidders watching this lot, it is possible it may set a new record for Jarbour stoneware jugs.