Fresh from a New England Estate is this Magnificent Supremely Rare and Refined Russell Crook Antique Arts & Crafts Mission Era vase which is truly a Museum Piece and one of the finest examples of Crook Pottery that I have seen. This Russell Crook vase would most assuredly be the centerpiece of any Fine Art Pottery Collection and there are not enough superlatives to do justice to this piece.This hand thrown salt glazed stoneware Art Pottery vase stands 10 tall and has angular handles and is decorated with a school of swimming fish at the shoulder with artful Indigo blue, cobalt blue, and lighter blue decoration conveying a sense of movement of the fish in the undulating water. The handles also are quite unusual to find on a Crook vase and one fish has it's dorsal fin decoration continued on the handle which I quite like. The vase is an urn form which tapers to the base and has an extended neck and angular handles. The approximate measurements are 10" tall, 1 7/8" inside the mouth, 5.25" across the handles, the body is 5.5" at the widest, the base is 2 7/8 across, and the weight is 3 lbs.
This Russell Crook vase has been authenticated by 3 experts in the pottery field and has been fully inspected under ultraviolet light and found to be free of any repairs and I have sounded out the vase and it rings true and is free of any cracks. The condition is very good with the notation of some stable checking between the handles and the body which occurred in the making of the vase and the mouth has some small flakes and abrasions on the inside of the lip and one handle has a small chip at the tip of the handle.
The body has some glaze pops, and surface pinholes including a small depression on the top of one handle near the mouth, and there is a lighter tone abrasion on the back side as pictured. Other than the aforementioned notations there is no damage and there are no repairs or restoration. Crook studied with Augustus Saint-Gaudens, and John Henry Twachtman and also had contact with master potter and teacher Charles Binns. Additionally he studied at the Sedgewick Institute in Great Barrington in MA, the Arts Students League in NY, and the Pennsylvania Institute of Art. Crook, spent his early years working as a cowboy on a ranch in California and in 1902 Crook was commissioned to design tiles for Grueby Pottery even being commissioned to work on the MA estate of Dreamworld.Crook's pottery was mostly nature inspired and almost always decorated with animals, fish, or birds and he created the bronze and carved granite Kona Fountain in Center Harbor, New Hampshire (1907), and was the designer of the chromed metal mermaid hood ornament on the "Dodge Watercar" of the early 20th century, and also a pair of terracotta polar bears. Crook's achievements include, Exhibited: National Society of Craftsmen, 1906 (gold medal); American Ceramic Society, 1922; Boston Fine Arts and Crafts, 1930.