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Linda F. Carnes-McNaughton
Solomom Loy: Master Potter of the Carolina Piedmont

Ceramics in America 2010

Full Article
Contents
  • Figure 1
    Figure 1

    Dish, Solomon Loy, Alamance County, North Carolina, 1825–1840. Lead-glazed earthenware. D. 12". (Private collection; unless otherwise noted, photos by Gavin Ashworth.) 

  • Figure 2
    Figure 2

    Loy Family of Potters. (Compiled by Linda F. Carnes-McNaughton; artwork, Wynne Patterson.)

     

     

  • Figure 3
    Figure 3

    Flask, Alamance County, North Carolina, 1770–1790. H. 5 3/8". (Courtesy, Old Salem Museums & Gardens.)

  • Figure 4
    Figure 4

    Map showing the location of Loy family potteries. 

  • Figure 5
    Figure 5

    Drawing of site 31AM191 showing the location of two circular kilns, a log house, a barn, and other landscape features following archaeological investigations. (Artwork, Linda F. Carnes-McNaughton.) The smokehouse covers 25 percent of the foundation of the downdraft kiln (A). The updraft kiln (B) was not entirely excavated because of a fruit tree on top of the west firebox.

  • Figure 6
    Figure 6

    Drawing of the updraft kiln after excavation. (Artwork, Linda F. Carnes-McNaughton.) Double-chambered, or “hob,” fireboxes are located equidistant along the perimeter of the foundation wall. The interruption in the foundation stone was for a doorway.

  • Figure 7
    Figure 7

    View of the updraft kiln during final stages of excavation. (Photo, Linda F. Carnes-McNaughton.) 

  • Figure 8
    Figure 8

    Profile drawings of the east firebox of the updraft kiln (B). (Artwork, Linda F. Carnes-McNaughton.) 

  • Figure 9
    Figure 9

    View of the east firebox following excavation. (Photo, Linda F. Carnes-McNaughton). 

  • Figure 10
    Figure 10

    Pipe and kiln furniture ­recovered at Solomon Loy’s pottery site, Alamance County, North Carolina, 1825–1840. Bisque-fired earthenware and high-fired clay. (Courtesy, Research Labs of Archaeology, UNC-Chapel Hill.) The pipes and supports would have been placed in a sagger. Fragments of thirteen pipe heads were recovered during excavations, six of which were in the updraft kiln. Five fragments were unglazed earthenware, two were lead-glazed, and six were salt-glazed stoneware. The unglazed earthenware examples are fluted, and one has a face at the outer elbow joint. The fluted examples matched a pewter pipe mold found in the chinking of the log house on the site.

  • Figure 11
    Figure 11

    Jar, Solomon Loy, Alamance County, North Carolina, 1830–1850. Salt-glazed stoneware. H. 6 7/8". (Courtesy, Old Salem Museums & Gardens.) This jar bears the maker’s full name. Solomon also used stamps and incising to mark his ware. A large cobalt-decorated stoneware crock and a unique salt-glazed stoneware grave marker dated 1834 have square floral stamps. Fragments of large crocks bearing the mark of Solomon’s son John M. Loy were recovered at Solomon’s site (31AM191). Some had debased cruciform motifs, like those on this example.

  • Figure 12
    Figure 12

    Dish, attributed to Solomon Loy, Alamance County, North Carolina, 1825–1840. Lead-glazed earthenware. D. 12". (Private collection.) Loy’s dishes are generally lighter and thinner than those made by Moravian potters in Bethabara and Salem, North Carolina. He used green, orange, brown, and black slips to decorate earthenware, and brown and blue slips to decorate stoneware. 

  • Figure 13
    Figure 13

    Detail of the back of the dish illustrated in fig. 12. Some late Moravian dishes have concave backs, but they do not flare as dramatically as those associated with Loy.

  • Figure 14
    Figure 14

    Fragmentary bowl recovered at Solomon Loy’s pottery site, Alamance County, North Carolina, 1825–1840. Lead-glazed earthenware. (Courtesy, Research Labs of Archaeology, UNC-Chapel Hill.)

  • Figure 15
    Figure 15

    Bowl, attributed to Solomon Loy, Alamance County, North Carolina, 1825–1840. Lead-glazed earthenware. D. 6 3/16". (Private collection.)

  • Figure 16
    Figure 16

    Detail of the back of the bowl illustrated in fig. 15.

  • Figure 17
    Figure 17

    Bowl fragments recovered at Solomon Loy’s pottery site, Alamance County, North Carolina, 1825–1840. Lead-glazed earthenware. (Courtesy, Research Labs of Archaeology, UNC-Chapel Hill.) Tripartite stylized leaves like those on these fragments are common on slipware attributed to Loy.

  • Figure 18
    Figure 18

    Mug, attributed to Solomon Loy, Alamance County, North Carolina, 1825–1840. Lead-glazed earthenware. H. 6 3/8". (Courtesy, Old Salem Museums & Gardens.) 

  • Figure 19
    Figure 19

    Mug, attributed to Solomon Loy, Alamance County, North Carolina, 1825–1840. Lead-glazed earthenware. H. 6 1/2". (Courtesy, Old Salem Museums & Gardens.) 

  • Figure 20
    Figure 20

    Handle fragments recovered at Solomon Loy’s pottery site, Alamance County, North Carolina, 1825–1840. Bisque-fired earthenware and lead-glazed earthenware. (Courtesy, Research Labs of Archaeology, UNC-Chapel Hill.) The molding on the fragment at the upper right is similar to that of the handle on the mug illustrated in fig. 19. 

  • Figure 21
    Figure 21

    Fat lamp, attributed to Solomon Loy, Alamance County, North Carolina, 1825–1840. Lead-glazed earthenware. H. 6 5/8". (Courtesy, Old Salem Museums & Gardens.)

  • Figure 22
    Figure 22

    Container, attributed to Solomon Loy, Alamance County, North Carolina, 1825–1840. Lead-glazed earthenware. Dimensions not recorded. (Private collection.) The foot of this object is similar to those on the mugs illustrated in figs. 18 and 19.

  • Figure 23
    Figure 23

    Cream jug, attributed to Solomon Loy, Alamance County, North Carolina, 1825–1840. Lead-glazed earthenware. H. 4". (Private collection.) The decoration on this cream jug is related to that on dish and hollow-ware fragments recovered at Loy’s site (see fig. 31). 

  • Figure 24
    Figure 24

    Bowl, dish, and handle fragments recovered at Solomon Loy’s pottery site, Alamance County, North Carolina, 1825–1840. Lead-glazed earthenware. (Courtesy, Research Labs of Archaeology, UNC-Chapel Hill.) 

  • Figure 25
    Figure 25

    Dish, attributed to Solomon Loy, Alamance County, North Carolina, 1825–1840. Lead-glazed earthenware. D. 15". (Private collection.) This monumental dish is the largest example attributed to Loy. 

  • Figure 26
    Figure 26

    Dish, attributed to Solomon Loy, Alamance County, North Carolina, 1825–1840. Lead-glazed earthenware. D. 13 1/2". (Private collection.) 

  • Figure 27
    Figure 27

    Dish fragments recovered at Solomon Loy’s pottery site, Alamance County, North Carolina, 1825–1840. Bisque-fired earthenware. (Courtesy, Research Labs of Archaeology, UNC-Chapel Hill.) 

  • Figure 28
    Figure 28

    Dish fragments recovered at Solomon Loy’s pottery site, Alamance County, North Carolina, 1825–1840. Bisque-fired and lead-glazed earthenware. (Courtesy, Research Labs of Archaeology, UNC-Chapel Hill.) The trailing on the fragment on the left is similar to that in the center of the dish illustrated in fig. 48, whereas the leaf motif on the right fragment relates to that in the cavetto of the example shown in fig. 44. 

  • Figure 29
    Figure 29

    Dish fragments recovered at Solomon Loy’s pottery site, Alamance County, North Carolina, 1825–1840. Bisque-fired earthenware. (Courtesy, Research Labs of Archaeology, UNC-Chapel Hill.) 

  • Figure 30
    Figure 30

    Dish fragments recovered at Solomon Loy’s pottery site, Alamance County, North Carolina, 1825–1840. Bisque-fired earthenware. (Courtesy, Research Labs of Archaeology, UNC-Chapel Hill.) Nested triangles occur on several paint-decorated chests from Berks County, Pennsylvania. As was the case with Martin Loy, many early Alamance County settlers had previously lived in Berks County. 

  • Figure 31
    Figure 31

    Hollow-ware fragments recovered at Solomon Loy’s pottery site, Alamance County, North Carolina, 1825–1840. Bisque-fired earthenware. (Courtesy, Research Labs of Archaeology, UNC-Chapel Hill.) 

  • Figure 32
    Figure 32

    Bowl fragment recovered at Solomon Loy’s pottery site, Alamance County, North Carolina, 1825–1840. Lead-glazed earthenware. (Courtesy, Research Labs of Archaeology, UNC-Chapel Hill.) 

  • Figure 33
    Figure 33

    Dish, attributed to Solomon Loy, Alamance County, North Carolina, 1825–1840. Lead-glazed earthenware. D. 10 3/4". (Courtesy, The Barnes Foundation.) 

  • Figure 34
    Figure 34

    Detail of the decoration on the marly of the dish illustrated in fig. 33. 

  • Figure 35
    Figure 35

    Dish, Alamance County, North Carolina, 1790–1820. Lead-glazed earthenware. D. 10". (Courtesy, Old Salem Museums & Gardens.) 

  • Figure 36
    Figure 36

    Detail of the decoration on the marly of the dish illustrated in fig. 35. 

  • Figure 37
    Figure 37

    Dish, Alamance County, North Carolina, 1800–1835. Lead-glazed earthenware. D. 10 1/2". (Private collection.) This dish and the example illustrated in fig. 38 may be by Solomon Loy. If so, they probably date from the beginning of his career but no earlier than ca. 1825.

  • Figure 38
    Figure 38

    Dish, Alamance County, North Carolina, 1800–1835. Lead-glazed earthenware. D. 11 5/8". (Courtesy, The Barnes Foundation.)

  • Figure 39
    Figure 39

    Bowl and saucer, attributed to Solomon Loy, Alamance County, North Carolina, 1825–1840. Lead-glazed earthenware. Dimensions not recorded. (Private collection.) 

  • Figure 40
    Figure 40

    Dish, attributed to Solomon Loy, Alamance County, North Carolina, 1825–1840. Lead-glazed earthenware. D. 9 3/4". (Courtesy, The Barnes Foundation.) 

  • Figure 41
    Figure 41

    Dish, attributed to Solomon Loy, Alamance County, North Carolina, 1825–1840. Lead-glazed earthenware. D. 9 7/8". (Courtesy, The Barnes Foundation.) 

  • Figure 42
    Figure 42

    Dish, Alamance County, North Carolina, 1800–1835. Lead-glazed earthenware. D. 10 5/8". (Courtesy, The Barnes Foundation.)  The back of this dish has post-firing marks similar to those on the examples illustrated in figs. 40 and 41.

  • Figure 43
    Figure 43

    Dish, Alamance County, North Carolina, 1800–1835. Lead-glazed earthenware. D. 11 3/4". (Private collection.) This dish and the examples illustrated in figs. 44, 47, and 48 may be by Solomon Loy. If so, they date no earlier than 1825.

  • Figure 44
    Figure 44

    Dish, Alamance County, North Carolina, 1800–1835. Lead-glazed earthenware. D. 11". (Courtesy, Old Salem Museums & Gardens.) The plant motif in the center is a debased version of that found on dishes and hollow-ware forms decorated by earlier potters in the St. Asaph’s tradition. 

  • Figure 45
    Figure 45

    Dish fragments recovered at Solomon Loy’s pottery site, Alamance County, North Carolina, 1825–1840. Bisque-fired earthenware. (Courtesy, Research Labs of Archaeology, UNC-Chapel Hill.) 

  • Figure 46
    Figure 46

    Detail of the back of the dish illustrated in fig. 44. 

  • Figure 47
    Figure 47

    Dish, Alamance County, North Carolina, 1800–1835. Lead-glazed earthenware. D. 11 1/2". (Courtesy, Old Salem Museums & Gardens.) 

  • Figure 48
    Figure 48

    Dish, Alamance County, North Carolina, 1800–1835. Lead-glazed earthenware. D. 12 3/4". (Courtesy, Old Salem Museums & Gardens.) 

  • Figure 49
    Figure 49

    Detail of the back of the dish illustrated in fig. 48.

  • Figure 50
    Figure 50

    Slipware fragments recovered at Joseph Loy’s pottery site, Person County, North Carolina, ca. 1833. Lead-glazed earthenware. (Courtesy, Research Labs of Archaeology, UNC-Chapel Hill.) 

  • Figure 51
    Figure 51

    Handle fragments recovered at Joseph Loy’s pottery site, Person County, North Carolina, ca. 1833. Lead-glazed earthenware. (Courtesy, Research Labs of Archaeology, UNC-Chapel Hill.) Joseph used copper oxide to produce a green glaze. His son George Haywood produced similar wares well into the 1860s. 

  • Figure 52
    Figure 52

    Marble and candlestick fragment recovered at Joseph Loy’s pottery site, Person County, North Carolina, ca. 1833. Bisque-fired and lead-glazed earthenware. (Courtesy, Research Labs of Archaeology, UNC-Chapel Hill.) 

  • Figure 53
    Figure 53

    Handle fragment recovered at Joseph Loy’s pottery site, Person County, North Carolina, ca. 1833. Lead-glazed earthenware. (Courtesy, Research Labs of Archaeology, UNC-Chapel Hill.)

  • Figure 54
    Figure 54

    Slipware fragments recovered at Jacob Albright Jr.’s pottery site, Alamance County, North Carolina, 1795–1825. Lead-glazed earthenware. (Courtesy, Research Labs of Archaeology, UNC-Chapel Hill.) 

  • Figure 55
    Figure 55

    Pipe prop and anthropomorphic object recovered at Jacob Albright Jr.’s pottery site, Alamance County, North Carolina, 1795–1825. High-fired clay. (Courtesy, Research Labs of Archaeology, UNC-Chapel Hill.) 

  • Figure 56
    Figure 56

    Mug fragments recovered at Jacob Albright Jr.’s pottery site, Alamance County, North Carolina, 1795–1825. Lead-glazed earthenware. (Courtesy, Research Labs of Archaeology, UNC-Chapel Hill.)  Some of the mug bases from Albright’s site are similar to those associated with Solomon Loy. 

  • Figure 57
    Figure 57

    Dish, Alamance County, North Carolina, 1790–1820. Lead-glazed earthenware. D. 11". (Courtesy, Colonial Williamsburg Foundation.) Jacob Albright Jr.’s pottery produced slipware with marbleizing like that in the lozenges on the marly of this dish.