Stoneware Jug

Paul Cushman (1767-1833), Albany, NY
Date: 1805-1833
Maker: Paul Cushman (1767-1833), Albany, NY
Dimensions: 15 3/8 H x 9 1/8 Dia. (at waist)
Materials: Salt-glazed stoneware with incised decoration
Marks: Impressed: PAUL:CUSHMAN
Provenance: Purchased from George Abraham and Gilbert May, West Granville, MA
Credit: Albany Institute of History & Art Purchase
Accession Number: 1957.15
Comments: Deeply incised lines compose the three birds that decorate this jug, transforming it from a utilitarian vessel into a delightful work of folk art. The object in the largest bird's beak may be a Prickly Pear cactus or perhaps a winged insect. The other birds are much more stylized in appearance, and their off-center placement suggests they may have been added as an afterthought. Paul Cushman was one of the founders of a regional stoneware industry that spanned the Upper Hudson Valley. When he moved to Albany around 1800, there were few local potters, but his pottery works became a long-lived and successful business that also initiated a century of tremendous growth and expansion in regional stoneware manufacturing.