The Story Behind Anna Pottery: From Small Town Roots to National Fame

It was a famous pottery company established by brothers Cornwall and Wallace Kirkpatrick in Anna, Illinois, in the mid-19th century. They produced unique and creative stoneware pieces, including jugs, pitchers, and bottles, that often featured intricate designs and political satire. Anna Pottery was renowned for its innovative techniques and materials.

The Quirky, Creative and Intriguing Pottery Style

It was a small family-run pottery business located in Anna, Illinois, USA. It was operated by brothers Cornwall and Wallace Kirkpatrick during the mid to late 1800s. The pottery was known for producing whimsical and satirical stoneware pieces that were decorated with intricate designs and humorous messages. They were active from 1859 to 1896, but their most creative and iconic pieces were produced during the Civil War period. Today, Anna Pottery pieces are highly collectible and are sought after by pottery enthusiasts and collectors alike.

What is It?

Anna Pottery is a renowned American pottery that was founded by brothers Cornwall and Wallace Kirkpatrick in Anna, Illinois in 1859. The pottery is known for its whimsical and satirical designs, such as stoneware bottles that are shaped like pigs, frogs, and other animals. The Kirkpatrick brothers were highly skilled potters who incorporated intricate details and witty messages into their creations. Anna Pottery operated until 1896, and their pieces are highly prized by collectors today.

Who founded Anna Pottery?

Anna Pottery was founded by Cornwall and Wallace Kirkpatrick, two brothers who were born and raised in Ireland. They settled in Anna, Illinois, in the mid-19th century and began producing stoneware pottery. Their pottery was known for its exceptional quality, intricate designs, and witty commentary on contemporary issues. The Kirkpatrick brothers operated Anna Pottery from 1859 to 1896, and during that time, they produced some of the most unique and memorable pieces in American pottery history.

Cornwall Kirkpatrick and Wallace Kirkpatrick

Cornwall Kirkpatrick and Wallace Kirkpatrick were brothers who founded Anna Pottery in Anna, Illinois in the mid-19th century. They were both accomplished potters and used their skills to create a wide range of ceramic pieces, from utilitarian items like jugs and crocks to whimsical figurines and sculptural pieces. They gained notoriety for their elaborate stoneware jugs and bottles, which often featured intricate designs and sculptural elements. The Kirkpatrick brothers ran Anna Pottery from the 1850s until the 1890s, when the business closed due to declining demand for their wares. Despite its relatively short lifespan, Anna Pottery remains an important part of American ceramic history and the Kirkpatrick brothers are celebrated for their innovative and creative contributions to the field.

What are some famous pieces of Anna Pottery?

Gray pottery flask in shape of pig, showing a map of St. Louis and vicinity. The flask was made by Anna Pottery in Anna, IL. Title: Anna Pottery Pig Flask

Some famous pieces of Anna Pottery include the “Stoneware Man” jug, the “Pig Bottle” which is a jug in the shape of a pig, the “Corn Cob” pitcher, and the “Snake Jug” which features two intertwined snakes on the side of the jug. These pieces are highly sought after by collectors and can fetch high prices at auction.

Stoneware Man jug

The “Stoneware Man” jug is one of the most famous pieces of Anna Pottery. It was created by brothers Wallace and Cornwall Kirkpatrick in 1885. The jug is a satirical piece that depicts a man made of stoneware, dressed in a top hat and holding a cane. The man is surrounded by various symbols and images, including a snake, a ladder, and a skull. The jug is known for its intricate details and humorous tone, and it is considered a masterpiece of American stoneware. The jug is currently on display at the Art Institute of Chicago.

Pig Bottle

The Pig Bottle is a famous piece of Anna Pottery, created by brothers Cornwall and Wallace Kirkpatrick in 1880. The bottle is shaped like a pig with a hollowed out belly, which can be used to hold liquid. The pig’s head is removable to act as a stopper, and the tail serves as a handle. The Pig Bottle is highly detailed, with realistic features such as a curly tail and protruding ears. It is considered one of the most iconic pieces of Anna Pottery and a testament to the Kirkpatrick brothers’ artistic skill and creativity.

Corn Cob pitcher

The Corn Cob pitcher is another famous piece of Anna Pottery. It was created by Cornwall Kirkpatrick in 1878 and is now considered one of the most impressive pieces of American stoneware ever made. The pitcher is shaped like a large ear of corn, complete with kernels, silk, and leaves, and is glazed in shades of green and brown to imitate the natural look of a corn cob. The handle is also shaped like a corn husk, making the pitcher look even more like a real ear of corn. The Corn Cob pitcher is a popular item among collectors of Anna Pottery and is highly sought after at auctions.

Snake Jug

The Snake Jug is one of the most famous pieces of Anna Pottery. It is a ceramic jug that features a coiled snake as the handle. The jug was created by the Kirkpatrick brothers, who were known for their whimsical and often political designs. The Snake Jug was made in 1881 and is now housed in the Art Institute of Chicago. The jug is notable for its intricate detail and realistic depiction of a snake. It is also a prime example of the Kirkpatrick brothers’ unique style, which combined traditional pottery techniques with modern design. The Snake Jug is considered a masterpiece of American folk art and is highly sought after by collectors.

How was Anna Pottery unique in its time?

Anna Pottery was unique in its time because of the Kirkpatrick brothers’ unconventional approach to pottery-making. They were known for creating whimsical and satirical pieces, often using animals and political figures as the subject matter. Their work was not only visually stunning but also had a high level of technical expertise, particularly in their use of slip decoration and glaze techniques. The brothers also utilized local clay and raw materials in their work, making their pottery truly unique to the region. Overall, their approach to pottery-making was groundbreaking and helped to establish a new standard for American ceramics.

What techniques were used to create Anna Pottery?

Anna Pottery was created using a variety of techniques, including wheel throwing and hand-building. The Kirkpatrick brothers also used slip-casting to create multiple copies of certain designs. One of the most unique techniques used by the Kirkpatricks was their ability to create intricate and detailed relief carvings on their pieces. They also used a variety of glazes and surface treatments to achieve their desired effects.

What materials were used to make Anna Pottery?

Anna Pottery was known for its use of locally sourced clay from southern Illinois, particularly from the region of Anna-Jonesboro. Cornwall and Wallace Kirkpatrick, the founders of Anna Pottery, also utilized a variety of materials and techniques to create their unique pieces. They often incorporated intricate designs and details, such as sculpted snakes, pigs, and corn cobs, into their pieces. They also utilized stamping and incising techniques to create decorative patterns and motifs on the surface of their pottery. Additionally, they used a variety of glazing techniques to achieve their desired colors and finishes, including salt glazing and ash glazing.

How did Anna Pottery influence the ceramics industry?

Anna Pottery was unique in its time as it was known for producing whimsical and satirical pieces that were different from traditional pottery. The Kirkpatrick brothers used a variety of techniques to create their pieces, including slip casting, molding, and hand-building. They also used a range of materials, such as stoneware, salt glaze, and clay.

The brothers were pioneers in their use of mold-made figural bottles, which were unlike anything else being produced at the time. They were also known for their exceptional attention to detail and their ability to capture the likeness of people and animals in their work.

Anna Pottery was a major influence on the ceramics industry, as it paved the way for the creation of art pottery and the development of the American art pottery movement. The Kirkpatrick brothers were instrumental in popularizing the use of figural bottles and in elevating pottery from a utilitarian craft to a fine art form.

What is the value of Anna Pottery pieces today?

Anna Pottery is known for producing a wide range of unique and eccentric pieces, many of which are highly valued by collectors today. One of the most famous pieces is the “Stoneware Man” jug, which was created in 1889 and is currently valued at around $350,000. Other valuable pieces include the “Corn Cob” pitcher, the “Snake Jug,” and the “Pig Bottle.” These pieces can range in value from several thousand to tens of thousands of dollars. The value of Anna Pottery pieces today is largely dependent on their rarity, condition, and historical significance.

What is the history of Anna Pottery’s closure?

Anna Pottery closed in 1896 due to financial difficulties and declining demand for their products. Brothers Cornwall and Wallace Kirkpatrick moved on to other careers, and the pottery was left to decay. While the physical location of Anna Pottery no longer exists, their unique creations continue to be highly valued by collectors and museums around the world. The value of Anna Pottery pieces today can vary widely depending on factors such as the rarity, condition, and historical significance of the piece. Some of the most valuable pieces include the Stoneware Man jug, Snake Jug, and Pig Bottle, which can fetch prices ranging from tens of thousands to hundreds of thousands of dollars at auction.

Conclusion And Summary

Anna Pottery was a unique stoneware pottery that produced eccentric and humorous pieces from 1859 to 1896 in Anna, Illinois. It was founded by the Kirkpatrick brothers, Cornwall and Wallace, who developed a reputation for their creative and satirical designs. Some of the most famous pieces from Anna Pottery include the “Stoneware Man” jug, Snake Jug, Corn Cob pitcher, and Pig Bottle.

The pottery was known for using a range of materials, including stoneware, clay, and glass, and employed various techniques such as wheel throwing, hand-building, and slip-casting. Anna Pottery had a significant influence on the ceramics industry, particularly through its innovative designs and incorporation of satire into its work.

Today, Anna Pottery pieces are highly sought after by collectors and can fetch high prices at auction. Although the pottery closed in 1896, its legacy lives on through its unique and whimsical creations.

Anna Pottery is such a fascinating topic, especially if you’re into Art History. The recently discovered Liberty Monument is a testament to the skill and craftsmanship that went into these pieces. And speaking of exhibitions, did you know that the Metropolitan Museum of Art has showcased Anna Pottery? That’s a big deal!

The clay-grinding equipment used in their operations was top-notch. They sourced the best kaolin clay, which is why their whiskey jugs and other pieces are so sought after. Anna Frances Simpson and Anna-Lisa Thomson were accomplished artists in their own right, contributing not just sculpture but also paintings to the art world.

The Winterthur Museum! They recently acquired some Anna Pottery pieces, including presentation vases. Presentation pieces are usually custom-made for a particular event or person. Imagine having a piece of Anna Pottery that once held old Bourbon! The New York Historical Society also has a collection, and let’s not forget the World’s Columbian Exposition where Anna Pottery made a splash.

The Leeds Art Foundation and Garden & Library have also shown interest in Anna Pottery, especially their reed-stem tobacco pipes and roof tiles. It’s like a journey through America’s rural past and family traditions, with a touch of Native American influence. Colonial Williamsburg has new listings of Anna Pottery that antique collectors would die for.

Jonesboro Gazette often featured Anna Pottery, especially during the Philadelphia Centennial. Mound City was where the kilns were, and that’s where all the fanciful wares like fruit jars and milk pans were made. For those who love Jewelry and dinnerware, Anna Pottery has something for you too. So, whether you’re a history buff or an art lover, Anna Pottery is a treasure trove waiting to be explored.


The Kirkpatricks’ Pottery at Anna, Illinois Ellen Denker 1986

Anna Pottery – Missouri History Museum URL: Gallery:

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