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Fuddling cup

Fuddling cup

  • Place of origin:

    Southwark (probably, made)

  • Date:

    1630-1640 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Unknown

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Tin-glazed earthenware, painted

  • Museum number:

    7710-1861

  • Gallery location:

    British Galleries, Room 57, case 1

Object Type
This was one of the more common 'joke' drinking pots of the 17th and 18th centuries. It was known as a 'fuddling cup', meaning that it would confuse or stupefy the user, even though the three interlinked cups would hardly contain enough ale to induce drunkenness.

Design & Designing
Deltfware is a tin-glazed earthenware. Since the soft earthenware has to be quite thick, and the glaze has to be applied liberally, this small object has a rather coarse appearance. The painted symbols, freely borrowed from Chinese porcelain, are at odds with its lumpish form.

Ownership & Use
Trick beer vessels are usually associated with taverns. However, the fact that this piece has survived in remarkable condition suggests that it was either very seldom used, or else kept at home as a display object.

Physical description

Fuddling cup, tin-glazed earthenware, with a buff body colour with a white glaze. The foot-rim was wiped clean of glaze. Each container is painted with a single motif probably identifiable as the 'Pair of Books' (one of the 'Eight Precious Things') in blue. All three containers are joined internally with interconnecting holes and are concave on the underside. (Alphabetic shape codes as used in appendix to Archer. Delftware. 1997)

Place of Origin

Southwark (probably, made)

Date

1630-1640 (made)

Artist/maker

Unknown

Materials and Techniques

Tin-glazed earthenware, painted

Marks and inscriptions

Oriental emblems copied from Chinese Export porcelain

Dimensions

Height: 9.8 cm, Width: 13.1 cm

Object history note

Purchased, 1861.

Historical context note

The term fuddling cup is used of a number of small cups or miniature vase-like containers which are joined to each other and have internal apertures and intertwined handles. Delftware examples have three or four containers between which liquid can flow freely.
Archer, Michael. Delftware: the tin-glazed earthenware of the British Isles. A catalogue of the collection in the Victoria and Albert Museum. London: HMSO, in association with the Victoria and Albert Museum, 1997. p. 256. ISBN 0 11 290499 8

Descriptive line

Fuddling cup, tin-glazed earthenware, decorated with an oriental emblem, London (probably Southwark), ca. 1630-1640.

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Archer, Michael. Delftware: the tin-glazed earthenware of the British Isles. A catalogue of the collection in the Victoria and Albert Museum. London: HMSO, in association with the Victoria and Albert Museum, 1997. ISBN 0 11 290499 8

Techniques

Glazed

Subjects depicted

Orientalism

Categories

Delftware; Ceramics; Earthenware; Containers; Drinking; British Galleries

Collection

Ceramics Collection

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