National Gallery of Art - THE COLLECTION
image of Jug Jug
Rendered by Giacinto Capelli (artist), 1941
watercolor, graphite, and colored pencil on paperboard
overall: 50.9 x 38.2 cm (20 1/16 x 15 1/16 in.) Original IAD Object: 16 5/8" High 10 3/8" Wide
Index of American Design
Not on View
From the Tour: Pottery from the Index of American Design
Object 7 of 17

Stoneware is made from fine, dense gray-blue or buff clay that is capable of withstanding a high firing temperature. The clay is fired to the point at which it fuses and becomes glasslike and impervious to liquids. This hard, durable, nonporous pottery was imported in great quantities from Europe and England until the Revolution. Up to that time, the only clay deposits suitable for stoneware were located in the New York-New Jersey coastal areas, and colonists found it less expensive to import stoneware than to ship the clay to potteries in other areas, since transportation among the colonies was poor and domestic shipping costly. American stoneware production developed initially because most foreign supplies were cut off during the Revolution and, later, because of high tariffs on foreign imports. Eventually, improved domestic waterways and newly found deposits of the high-firing clay made it possible for American potters to produce stoneware cheaply. Although stoneware will hold liquid without being glazed, in most cases it was finished by a simple process known as salt glazing. Common salt was shoveled into the fire of the kiln when it was at its highest temperature. Salt vapors condensed on the pottery, mixing with the silica in the clay to form a thin, hard, glossy, finish. The luster of this New York-made stoneware jug is characteristic of a salt-glazed surface.

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