Stoneware, cobalt oxide
Overall: 13 x 8 in. ( 33 x 20.3 cm )
Salt-glazed stoneware jar with impressed maker's mark and decorated with impressed cobalt blue swag motif around upper.
Gift of Samuel V. Hoffman
impressed: on both sides: "COMMERAW'S/STONEWARE"; "N. YORK/HOOK/CORLEARS"
Scholars long assumed that stoneware potter Thomas W. Commeraw was of European descent. Recent research, however, shows that he was a free African American. His pottery was located at Corlear's Hook on the East River, near today's Chinatown. It produced utilitarian storage vessels like this jug from 1797 to 1819. Commeraw was involved in the antislavery movement, and in 1820 he traveled to Sierra Leone as an advocate for the American Colonization Society, which promoted the "return" of free African Americans to Africa.
Due to ongoing research, information about this object is subject to change.