Tennessee Monsarrat Pottery Lidded Stoneware Pitcher

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Item number: PYH 5431

Robert Allen Monsarrat was the sole proprietor of Monsarrat Pottery in Friendsville, Tennessee from 1977 to 1999. He made stoneware pieces with synthetic ash glazes like this handsome, extremely large and heavy lidded pitcher. Well-known professional ceramicists like Peter Rose and Shadow May also created pottery at Monsarrat. It has been 20 years since Robert stopped potting and sold his kiln. His works are in the collections of the American Museum of Ceramic Art, Pomona, California; the Southern Highland Guild in Asheville, North Carolina and the Tennessee Valley Authority in Knoxville.

This tactile stoneware pitcher is truly monumental in size. Standing 12 inches tall, it weighs 6 pounds, 14 ounces and has a base diameter of 8 inches. The circumference around the widest part is 23 inches; the mouth measures 3 1/2 inches. There is an inner flange that the lid with the high, round knob sits on. The wide strap handle is finished with two thumbprints each where it joins the body at both the top and bottom. The cut rim of the pulled spout is somewhat rough.

Grooves, ribbons and raised buttons decorate the piece, along with the drip glaze that runs down and onto the dry bottom, which is hand signed in black with "Monsarrat" in a double circle, a signature he began using circa 1982. The drip glaze is reminiscent of the Southern "tobacco spit" glaze; done in brown and greens, it enables this pitcher to fit in well with modern, rustic and country interiors.

NOTE: A very similar lidded pitcher made by Monsarrat is pictured in his listing on the website The Marks Project.

PYH 5431

Review ***

Oh my gosh, guys..my pitcher arrived today and was so well packed!! It is larger and more heavy than I imagined...I am not good at reading descriptions. That said, it just makes it even MORE incredible. Words cannot describe what a unique piece this is..l am so delighted to add it to my collections. Thank you so much for sending it with such great care...it's truly one of a kind and I am so happy with it. Debbie Hyde


This art pottery pitcher with its wonderfully assertive attitude was hand made by Alfred Station, New York potter Eugenia Frith Meltzer in 1996. Born in 1950 to a professor of ceramics father and a mother who was a ceramics artist, Mrs. Meltzer earned BA and Masters Degrees and then did her graduate study with famed potter Warren MacKenzie from 1973 to 1974. Her works are currently in several prestigious galleries and museums. She is one of the artists selected to be in the Allegany Artisans Studio Tour in October, 2018. Her signature is incised on the unglazed bottom of the pitcher "Eugenia Meltzer" and beneath that the date of 7. 1. 96. On the bottom rim is her cipher, the impressed letter M.

This pitcher is an excellent example of brutalist design. Some of the attributes of brutalism are rough surfaces, strong lines and a coarse, somewhat unfinished appearance---definitely not vanilla art. It's a term derived from the French word "brut," translating to 'raw, crude, unfinished.' This modernist pitcher stands 10 1/4 inches tall, measures 9 1/2 inches handle to spout, about 7 inches across the belly and has a 2 inch mouth. Made of heavy grey stoneware clay, it weighs four pounds and is in excellent condition.

At first glance, the pitcher appears to have a lava glaze but in fact much of the surface of the body was tooled with hundreds of tiny, indented geometric shapes. The twisted ribbon handle and the stubby spout seem to be "breaking through" to emerge from peeled-back layers. The entire piece was given a handsome chocolatey brown glaze. (White spots, as usual, are only light reflections.)

This art pottery pitcher, made by a talented and well-known artist, lends a compelling presence to any setting.

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PYH 4526