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Image of Gallery in South Kensington
On display at V&A South Kensington
Medieval & Renaissance, Room 63, The Edwin and Susan Davies Gallery

Jug

ca. 1525-1550 (made)
Artist/Maker
Place of origin

This unusual salt-glazed stoneware jug is an elaborate version of the mass-produced Bartmann bottle, so-called because of its applied bearded facemask. Here, though, the whole vessel is moulded in great detail to convey a three-quarter length figure of a man dressed in costume fashionable in the mid-sixteenth century. The pewter lid, openable by flicking the thumbpiece attached to the handle, doubles as the man's hat. Such a jug would have been used to hold beer or wine at the table upon which might also be found other vessels such as those the man is depicted as holding - a rather more conventional Cologne stoneware jug and a facetted green glass drinking flute.
Despite a long earthenware potting tradition from the time of the Roman occupation, the Cologne stoneware industry began rather later than that of other Rhineland towns. By about 1500, however, Cologne was producing small mugs and jugs with applied moulded botanical decoration. Although there were several thriving stoneware workshops in Cologne in the first half of the century, the city authorities were concerned about the fumes and fire risk. Prohibitions and tax increases forced many potters to leave the city to set up instead in nearby Frechen.
The jug was formerly in the Weckherlin Collection, objects from which formed the core of the South Kensington (now V&A) Museum's German stoneware collection on their acquisition in 1868. The Weckherlin Collection was acquired by a fellow Belgian, the art dealer, publisher and patron of the Pre-Raphaelite painters, Jean Joseph Ernest Theodore Gambart who came to London in 1840 and took British citizenship in 1846. He displayed the collection in his London house "Rosenstead", Avenue Road, near Regent's Park, until a gas explosion caused him to reconsider the long-term security of his remaining pots - he sold 62 objects to the Museum for £800. This jug was then worth £8-10s.


Object details
Categories
Object type
Materials and techniques
Salt-glazed stoneware with moulded detail, and pewter lid
Brief description
Grey stoneware jug with brown surface under a speckled salt-glaze, small handle and domed pewter lid. In the form of a man in sixteenth century dress, applied on the neck with a bearded facemask and modelled on the body with costume and hands holding a stoneware jug and facetted drinking flute. Germany: Cologne, 1525-50.
Physical description
Grey stoneware jug with brown surface under a speckled salt-glaze. It has a flat base in the form of the upper half of a man in sixteenth century dress, applied on the neck with a bearded facemask and modelled on the body with ruff, finely pleated linen shirt with band of smocking, embroidered flower-pattern doublet, slashed sleeves, jerkin open at the chest with pleated skirt, belt and cape. The figure holds a stoneware jug of Cologne type in his right hand, of which the lid (intended as metal) has been pulled back by the thumbpiece, and in his left hand, a tall facetted late sixteenth century forest glass drinking flute known as a Stangenglas. A domed pewter lid sits on top of the man's head, and a small stoneware handle coming from the back of his head joins the body between his shoulders.
Dimensions
  • Height: 26.1cm
  • Width: 16.6cm
  • Depth: 12.7cm
  • Weight: 1.4kg
Measured for the Medieval and Renaissance Galleries
Object history
The jug was formerly in the Weckherlin Collection, objects from which formed the core of the South Kensington (now V&A) Museum's German stoneware collection on their acquisition in 1868. The Weckherlin Collection was acquired by a fellow Belgian, the art dealer, publisher and patron of the Pre-Raphaelite painters, Jean Joseph Ernest Theodore Gambart who came to London in 1840 and took British citizenship in 1846. He displayed the collection in his London house "Rosenstead", Avenue Road, near Regent's Park, until a gas explosion caused him to reconsider the long-term security of his remaining pots - he sold 62 objects to the Museum for £800. This jug was then worth £8-10s.



Historical significance: Despite a long earthenware potting tradition from the time of the Roman occupation, the Cologne stoneware industry began rather later than that of other Rhineland towns such as Siegburg and Raeren. By about 1500, however, it had caught up and was already making small mugs and jugs with applied moulded botanical decoration. There were several thriving stoneware workshops in Cologne in the sixteenth century but the city authorities were concerned about the fumes and fire risk. Prohibitions and tax increases forced many potters to leave the city during 1540s and 1550s and by 1566, stoneware production in Cologne had become negligible. Most potters moved to nearby Frechen, from where in any case, several of the potting families had originated. Frechen had a number of Lutheran communities by 1540s so it may also have been the case that religious intolerance had contributed towards the migration of potters from Cologne.
Historical context
Stoneware is a robust, non-porous and durable material. German potters found these characteristics ideal for the manufacture of drinking and storage vessels which became indispensable to daily life in late medieval Germany.

The development of a true stoneware body in the Rhineland was achieved by about 1300-50 by a process of careful experimentation entirely uninfluenced by Far Eastern expertise. The local clays became fully fused at 1200-1300°C, and early wares were unglazed or ash-glazed. During the fifteenth century, potters discovered that salt thrown into the kiln would vaporise and form a pleasing tight-fitting glaze. The colour varies from buff to dark brown but the glaze is easily recognisable from its 'orange-peel' appearance. Salt-glazing demanded vast quantities of salt for every firing. This was imported through Cologne for sale to all the Rhenish potteries. During the sixteenth century, German stoneware achieved huge economic success and attained a peak of technical and decorative refinement.

This unusual and attractive jug is a version of the ubiquitous Bartmann bottle so-called because of its applied bearded facemask, but in this case, the whole vessel is moulded in great detail to convey a three-quarter length figure of a man. He is dressed in fashionable clothes of the mid-sixteenth century and is intended to represent a wealthy merchant or noble. The jug would have been used to hold beer or wine at the table upon which might also be found other vessels such as those the man is depicted as holding - a more conventional Cologne stoneware jug and a facetted green glass drinking flute (Stangenglas). The pewter lid, openable by flicking the thumbpiece attached to the handle, doubles as the man's hat.
Summary
This unusual salt-glazed stoneware jug is an elaborate version of the mass-produced Bartmann bottle, so-called because of its applied bearded facemask. Here, though, the whole vessel is moulded in great detail to convey a three-quarter length figure of a man dressed in costume fashionable in the mid-sixteenth century. The pewter lid, openable by flicking the thumbpiece attached to the handle, doubles as the man's hat. Such a jug would have been used to hold beer or wine at the table upon which might also be found other vessels such as those the man is depicted as holding - a rather more conventional Cologne stoneware jug and a facetted green glass drinking flute.

Despite a long earthenware potting tradition from the time of the Roman occupation, the Cologne stoneware industry began rather later than that of other Rhineland towns. By about 1500, however, Cologne was producing small mugs and jugs with applied moulded botanical decoration. Although there were several thriving stoneware workshops in Cologne in the first half of the century, the city authorities were concerned about the fumes and fire risk. Prohibitions and tax increases forced many potters to leave the city to set up instead in nearby Frechen.

The jug was formerly in the Weckherlin Collection, objects from which formed the core of the South Kensington (now V&A) Museum's German stoneware collection on their acquisition in 1868. The Weckherlin Collection was acquired by a fellow Belgian, the art dealer, publisher and patron of the Pre-Raphaelite painters, Jean Joseph Ernest Theodore Gambart who came to London in 1840 and took British citizenship in 1846. He displayed the collection in his London house "Rosenstead", Avenue Road, near Regent's Park, until a gas explosion caused him to reconsider the long-term security of his remaining pots - he sold 62 objects to the Museum for £800. This jug was then worth £8-10s.
Bibliographic references
  • W. van Weckherlin, "Vases en gres des XVIe et XVIIe siecles", The Hague, 1860
  • David Gaimster, "German Stoneware", London: British Museum, 1997
Collection
Accession number
780-1868

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Record createdNovember 6, 2006
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