Rare 1985 Manganese Glazed Redware Santa Belsnickel Figurine Lester Breininger
Description: A very nice and very unusual manganese glazed redware small figurine made by Lester Breininger. The piece, which is dated 1985, represents a standing father Christmas, Santa Clause or as Terri says a Belsnickel (The German Santa or the Pennsylvania Dutch Santa who is tough on Children and makes them be good). The figurine shows Santa wearing a long coat, tied with a rope around his waist. The coat has a pointed hood, which covers the Belsnickel's head. He is also wearing mitten, boots and has a long beard. The coloring of the piece is rather different and very interesting as it is grayish brown with brown and black highlights. The black highlights are indicative of manganese glazing. The piece is glazed throughout except for the base which is marked with the date and LB for Lester Breininger, suggesting that the piece was made by the master potter himself. The piece shows good details of Santa's coat, face and beard. The base of the figurine is unglazed and shows the color of unglazed redware. Very interesting Pennsylvania Dutch piece, by a master potter with the right heritage. The cast figurine has nice details and relatively well defined given the size of the piece. A very nicely done and unusual piece. Please carefully review the photos as they are part and parcel of our description.
Origin: Robesonia, Berks County, Pennsylvania
Size: This figurine is ~4" high and the base is ~1 1/2" in diameter. The piece weighs a little over 3 ounces.
Maker: Lester Breininger
Marks: "LB; 85; PA" incised in block letters on the base.
Distinguishing Characteristics - Most Interesting About The Piece: This is a rather rare form by Lester Breininger himself, representing a true Pennsylvania subject. A definite beauty deserving of a prominent spot in any advanced redware collection. Mr. Breininger, who had a Pennsylvania Dutch heritage, recently died in December 2011.
Condition: The piece is in very good condition. It has no cracks, hairlines, chips, or repairs. It does have general crazing to the glaze throughout. It also has a firing crack, which we show in the 6th and 9th photos. This crack, which is original to the making of the piece is glazed over and does not compromise neither the integrity or the beauty of the piece. In addition, the piece has small firing cracks on the nose and the beard, see third photo, which again have been glazed over and original to the making of the piece same as a small nick at the base, which is also original to the making and glazed over. The piece also has some of the usual defects that you would expect to find in a primitive piece of pottery such as pops, slubs, and areas where the glaze did not fully flow. Be that as it may, this is a beautiful, unusual, and rare piece in very good shape by the master potter Lester Breininger. Please see photos to appreciate its beauty and condition of this piece.