Pottery Exhibition Highlights Alabama Counties

  • AUBURN, Alabama
  • /
  • August 06, 2011

  • Email
Attributed to John Davis Leopard; possibly Ussery shop, (1800/03SC–1883 TX), Bacon Level, Randolph County, Single Handle Jug, 1840s, Elaborately tooled rim, concentric lines decoration, alkaline glaze with reddish-brown iron oxide overglaze, 16 x 9 x 9 inches, Collection of Gary and Martha Price
Attributed to Milton J. Ussery, Sr., (1818 SC–1886 AL), Bacon Level, Randolph County, Double Lug Handle Jar, “Tobacco spit” alkaline glaze, Stamped: MJU; inscribed: 1848 (indistinctly), 14 x 9 x 9 inches, Collection of Ann and Tom Cousins


The Jule Collins Smith Museum of Fine Art presents a new exhibition, Bacon Level, Hickory Flat, and the Illustrious Potteries of Randolph and Chambers Counties, Alabama, on view from August 6-November 26, 2011 in Gallery C.

In the mid-nineteenth through the early twentieth century, a collection of neighboring towns in southern Randolph County and northern Chambers County was home to some of the South's foremost potteries.

The high-quality clays native to that area attracted numerous pottery-making families who emigrated from South Carolina and Georgia following the opening of Creek territories in east Alabama.

Shops in communities such as Rock Mills, Bacon Level, Cedric and Hickory Flat produced an abundance of distinctive ceramic vessels that were purchased by settlers in Alabama and travelers across the state. These carefully handcrafted items were used as household implements, food storage and preparation and highly decorated objects of fancy.

Well regarded in their day, the Randolph-Chambers potteries have since been overshadowed by more familiar sites in Edgefield, SC; Catawba Valley, NC; and north Georgia.

This focused exhibition sheds light on an important chapter in Alabama history and draws much-deserved attention to the area's remarkable potters and their achievements. Organized by JCSM, with the assistance of collector Gary Price, the exhibition celebrates the work of William Hudson Boggs, "Charley" Brown, Cicero Demosthenes Hudson, John Frederick Lehman, John Davis Leopard, William Davis Pound, Zachary Taylor Ussery, Jesse James Weathers and several others who left a colorful legacy of ceramic production.

For more information on this exhibition, please visit jcsm.auburn.edu or call 334-844-1484.


Colleen Bourdeau
Jule Collins Smith Museum of Fine Art

Jule Collins Smith Museum of Fine Art
901 South College St
Auburn, Alabama
About Jule Collins Smith Museum of Fine Art

Open since 2003, the Jule Collins Smith Museum of Fine Art at Auburn University is Alabama’s only university art museum. Serving as the gateway into Auburn University, the museum is home to many pieces of culturally significant art. The collection includes 115 Audubon prints, a rare group of more than 40 Tibetan bronzes and works by important American artists, such as Arthur Dove, Georgia O’Keeffe and Lyonel Feininger. The museum rotunda hangs a three-tiered, hand-blown glass chandelier created especially for the museum by internationally-renowned glass artist Dale Chihuly. The beauty continues onto the grounds of the museum with fifteen acres of gardens, walking paths and water features, complete with an eleven and a half foot tall brass sculpture, Spinoff, created by Auburn alumna Jean Woodham.

  • Email

Related Press Releases