Butter Tub thumbnail 1
Not currently on display at the V&A

Butter Tub

ca. 1830 (made)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

This small container was used for butter, porridge or other foods in Norway in the 19th century. It is constructed like a barrel with vertical sections, or staves, held by horizontal bands. Dried rushes were packed into the joints to prevent leaks. The tub was originally painted with an inscription, now much worn, and the date 1830.

In 1891 the Museum was given the opportunity to choose items from a large collection of Norwegian painted and carved wooden objects which belonged to Mr Herbert Ingleby. He had apparently formed his collection during his travels in Norway. The curator, A.B. Skinner, chose a selection including jugs, bowls, cups, mangling boards and boxes which he recommended as useful for the study of different forms of carving and of painted designs. As well as displays in South Kensington, the Museum circulated collections of similar objects around regional museums and art colleges.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Parts
This object consists of 2 parts.

  • Butter Tub
  • Lid
Materials and Techniques
Carved and painted wood
Brief Description
Cylindrical butter tub with lift-off lid, raised on four feet, and with two handles, of juniper or softwood, carved on the outside with foliate scrolls and painted in red, green and white, the painting including an inscription in white paint and the date 1830.
Physical Description
Cylindrical butter tub with lift-off lid, raised on four feet, and with two handles, of juniper or softwood, carved on the outside with foliate scrolls and painted in red, green and white, the painting including an inscription in white paint including the date 1830 (the painting probably added later in the 19th century).

The tub is raised on four shaped, splaying feet. It is of coopered or stave construction with four staves extending to form the feet and two of these extending upwards to form the handles which serve to hold the lid in place. The circular lid is cut out to fit round these and is set with a raised, scrolled and pierced handle that runs the full diameter of the lid and is jointed to it with a running dovetail. One end of the handle has a tang that locates in one of the handles of the tub. The other end of the lid handle is pierced with a hole and this can be fixed with a loose dowel placed through a corresponding hole in the handle of the tub. The body is bound top and bottom with bands of wood (birch?), painted green. The top one is inscribed in white. Much of the inscription is impossible to read but the remainder reads as 'A...................98....dritter'(?)
Dimensions
  • Height: 28cm
  • Over splayed feet diameter: 26.2cm
Style
Marks and Inscriptions
  • A.........98... dritter (Painted on upper band)
  • 39 (printed on small paper label in black, affixed to underside of tub. This may relate to numbering of the original collection)
Object history
Densely curling acanthus was a chief element in the baroque style from about 1650. It did not reach Norway until about 1700, and became part of folk art, in which it continues until this day. The paint on this tub was added later in the 19th century.
Subject depicted
Summary
This small container was used for butter, porridge or other foods in Norway in the 19th century. It is constructed like a barrel with vertical sections, or staves, held by horizontal bands. Dried rushes were packed into the joints to prevent leaks. The tub was originally painted with an inscription, now much worn, and the date 1830.



In 1891 the Museum was given the opportunity to choose items from a large collection of Norwegian painted and carved wooden objects which belonged to Mr Herbert Ingleby. He had apparently formed his collection during his travels in Norway. The curator, A.B. Skinner, chose a selection including jugs, bowls, cups, mangling boards and boxes which he recommended as useful for the study of different forms of carving and of painted designs. As well as displays in South Kensington, the Museum circulated collections of similar objects around regional museums and art colleges.
Collection
Accession Number
594&A-1891

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record createdMay 25, 2005
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