Eighteen pieces of Pewabic Pottery, most crafted in the early to mid-1900s, sold at a spring auction in Detroit. It is the home of this historic pottery studio that today is an active working pottery, as well as a museum and ceramic arts education center and a National Historic Landmark.

Pewabic Pottery was founded in 1903 by artist Mary Chase Perry Stratton (1867–1961) and her business partner, Horace Caulkins. Together they built a Detroit pottery dynasty known for its architectural ornamentation on many public institutions and private residences and its quality tiles and vessels with proprietary iridescent glazes.

While Pewabic Pottery is known for its tiles, the company also made lamps, vases, bowls and other types of art pottery that sold for high prices at the March auction.

Stratton was a pioneer in the development of uranium glaze formulas. A 1925 Pewabic vase with orange matte uranium glaze vase sold for $7,440. Another vase made about the same time featured yellow matte over orange uranium glaze. It sold for $4,340. Both vases had the impressed Pewabic medallion mark on the bottom. It is the most common Pewabic mark, used from about 1910 until production stopped in 1969.

A 1930s vase with copper iridescent glaze marked with an early Pewabic Pottery paper label and an impressed “PP” circular mark in low relief auctioned for $1,116. A cylindrical cup with iridescent blue and copper drip glaze brought $310. It was marked with an impressed “PP” on the bottom.

A vase with matte copper glaze made between 1912 and 1925 with a “button” center “Pewabic Detroit” medallion mark sold for $1,736. A 1903–1910 blue matte vase with a squared shoulder and marked with the “Pewabic Mirrored Image” metal die mark went for $2,356.

A 1903 gourd-shaped jar with a stem cover decorated with a “flowing matte” glaze sold for $5,580. A 1903 inkwell and pen rest with “flowing matte” glaze highlighted with turquoise brought $8,060. The inkwell had been used by Stratton at Pewabic Pottery from 1903 until her death in 1961.

A hand-thrown vase with incised sheaves of wheat and Persian blue glaze believed to have been made by William Buck Stratton, the founder’s architect husband, sold for $5,890. The incised initials “WBS” were on the bottom with an early “Pewabic Detroit” label and a pencil inscription that reads, “Not for Sale.”

For more on marks used by Pewabic Pottery, see the Dictionary of Marks in this newsletter issue.

DIGGING DEEPER 

Visiting Detroit and want to search for Pewabic tile installations in the Motor City? Visit Pewabic Pottery online at Pewabic.org to explore its map highlighting the many public installations found in the city.

Photos courtesy of DuMouchelles, 409 East Jefferson Ave., Detroit, MI 48226. View the catalog of the March 25, 2022, The March Auctions: Day 2 online at DumoArt.com.

pewabic vase, wheat

Pewabic Wheat vase, white clay body, Persian blue over “flowing matte” ivory and brown glaze with reduction, four rounded sides incised to resemble sheaves of wheat, stamped “Pewabic” on the bottom with “Pewabic Detroit” label, inscribed “Not for Sale” in pencil, painted inventory number “141,” and incised “WBS,” William Buck Stratton, c.1923, 3 1/2 in. h. by 4 in. w., $5,890.

 

 

pewabic cup

Pewabic cup, iridescent blue and copper dripped glaze with reduction, cylindrical, impressed “PP” mark on bottom, c.1930–1967, 3 1/2 in. h. by 3 1/4 in. w., $310.

 

pewabic vase, blue matte

Pewabic vase, white clay body, blue matte glaze, bulbous, flattened shoulder, slightly flared rim, “Pewabic mirrored image” metal die underglaze mark on bottom, c.1903–1910, 5 in. h. by 4 in. w., $2,356.

 

pewabic vase, copper glaze

Pewabic vase, buff clay body, matte copper reduction glaze, bulbous bottom with tapering at shoulder, flared rim, “Pewabic Detroit” medallion mark with button center, c.1912–1925, 3 in. h. by 3 1/4 in. w., $1,736.

 

pewabic vase, iridescent copper reduction

Pewabic vase, iridescent copper reduction glaze, bulbous, “Pewabic Detroit” paper label in black ink with impressed circular “PP” mark in low relief, c.1930, 3 1/2 in. h. by 3 1/2 in. w., $1,116.

 

Pewabic covered jar

Pewabic covered jar, white clay body, “flowing matte” glaze, gourd shape with stem shaped cover, (two hairline cracks), partial “Arc” underglaze mark on bottom, Mary Chase Perry Stratton, c.1903, 6 1/4 in. h. by 3 1/2 in. w., $5,580.

 

Pewabic vase, uranium glaze

Pewabic vase, white clay body, yellow matte over orange uranium glaze, crazing, bulbous, pinched neck, rolled rim, circular mark on bottom, Mary Chase Perry Stratton, c.1925, 7 3/4 in. h. by 5 1/4 in. w., $4,340.

Pewabic covered inkwell and pen rest

Pewabic covered inkwell and pen rest, white clay body, “flowing matte” glaze with turquoise highlights, pen tray merges into the body of the inkwell to form a spiral snail shell, paper medallion label with black letters, Mary Chase Perry Stratton, c.1903, 2 3/4 in. h. by 5 3/4 in. w., $8,060.

 

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