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  • Place of origin:

    Flanders (made)

  • Date:

    15th century (made)

  • Artist/Maker:


  • Materials and Techniques:


  • Credit Line:

    Dr W. L. Hildburgh FSA Gift

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    Metalware, Room 116, The Belinda Gentle Gallery, case 2

The lavabo or hanging laver gradually displaced the ewer in many households as a means of dispensing water for washing hands. The basic shape of the body was usually that of a flattened sphere. The rim, the spouts and the junctions of the loop handle with the body were opportunities for the craftsman to demonstrate his artistic skills. In this example the sockets that hold the handle resemble nailheads. It is not uncommon to find a human bust concealing the join.

Occasionally lavabos were made with a single spout. This example is of the more common type, with two spouts placed between the supports for the handle. The end of each spout is shaped like the head and open jaws of some fabulous creature – a design motif that was common also in ewers. The source of this motif remains obscure but it remained popular for a long time and was still being used to embellish teapots and coffee pots until the late 18th century.

Physical description

Circular, with two dragon-head spouts, spreading lip and two sockets in the form of a man's head; with swing handle with pivoted iron loop.

Place of Origin

Flanders (made)


15th century (made)



Materials and Techniques



Height: 6.75 in, Diameter: 7.25 in

Object history note

Acquired in Cologne in 1912.

Descriptive line

Hanging laver, brass, with two dragon-head spouts and two sockets in the form of a man's head and a swing handle, Flanders, 15th century



Subjects depicted

Dragons; Head




Metalwork Collection

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