Wednesday, November 5, 2014

"This my last you will see for now my lord is calling me June 5, 1869."

Southern stoneware verse-inscribed garden tile, signed Dave Savannah River Valley or Central Georgia, dated 1869, press-molded form and triple scallop top with inverted pyramid design body, modified Albany and unglazed lower body, incised, "LM" and "Dave" with verse "This my last you will see for now my lord is calling me June 5, 1869."
H8 1/8" W8 1/2" D1 1/4"

Provenance: Private collection.
Sold for $8,000.00 at Charlton Hall, September 11, 2011. 

Auction house description:
In the years following the Civil War's end and the freeing of African slaves around the South it is unclear what became of the Edgefield potter we know as Dave. His work in Edgefield, South Carolina stoneware productions from Pottersville to Stoney Bluff is clearly identified through his signature and verses appearing between the dates of 1829 to 1864, with a strong devotion to Lewis Miles. Periods of unsigned vessels have occurred for up to five years and can possibly be explained by change of ownership or change in location. The exact origin of Southern slave-made garden tiles has never truly been identified. The tiles are found in many locations near and around the Savannah River both in Georgia and South Carolina, lining the walkways in gardens and surrounding Southern grave sites. The productions of these tiles would have clearly been within Dave's grasp as a free man in a changing world and industry in the American South. The Dave signature and LM occurring on this piece are a clear match to the vessels he produced in earlier years. The handwriting in the verse which reads, "This my last you will see for now my lord is calling me" could be a late example of his style of handwriting or possibly the hand of an assistant or apprentice inscribing his words as instructed. It is widely believed that Dave died sometime around 1870, and this tile would indicate that he felt that his time was soon to come. Currently, this is the last known signed and dated example of stoneware created by the potter known as Dave.