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Object Name: Inkwell
Date: ca. 1800-1814
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Medium: Salt-glazed stoneware, cobalt oxide
Dimensions: Overall: 2 in. × 3 3/4 in. (5.1 × 9.5 cm)
Place made: North America, United States, New York
Description: Cylindrical salt-glazed stoneware inkwell with pattern of holes, slash decoration in cobalt around top, and maker's mark stamped on front.
Credit Line: Purchased from Elie Nadelman
Object Number: 1937.719
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Marks: Stamped on front of inkwell: "C. CROLIUS / MANUFACTURER / MANHATTAN-WELLS / NEW-YORK"

Gallery Label:

This object was once part of the folk art collection of Elie Nadelman (1882-1946), the avant-garde sculptor. From 1924 to 1934, Nadelman's collection was displayed in his Museum of Folk Arts, located in the Riverdale section of the Bronx. The Historical Society purchased Nadelman's entire collection in 1937.

The Museum of Folk and Peasant Arts boasted more than 130 examples of American stoneware, many of them produced in and around Manhattan during the first half of the nineteenth century.

This decorated stoneware vessel is the work of Clarkson Crolius, Sr., whose grandfather emigrated to New York from Germany in 1718 and established the city’s first stoneware pottery. Although inkwells like this were produced in large quantity by the Crolius manufactory, this particular example is notable fro the animated pinwheel motif painted in cobalt around the opening.

Clarkson Crolius sold his stoneware locally but also shipped wares on boats to southern ports such as Charleston and Savannah. A Crolius inkwell like this one was recently excavated in New Orleans.


The Folk Art Collection of Elie and Viola Nadelman, Riverdale, NY


Denker, Ellen Paul. "Collector' legacies." The Magazine Antiques 167 (2005): 176-180.


"Making It Modern: The Folk Art Collection of Elie and Viola Nadelman," Albuquerque Museum of Art and History, NM, September 6–November 29, 2015; New-York Historical Society, May 20–August 21, 2016; Addison Gallery of American Art, Andover, MA, September 17–December 31, 2016.