History of the British Museum and its collections, £6.00
Height: 28.000 cm
Room 46: Europe 1400-1800
From London, England, AD 1625-35
Delftware is tin-glazed earthenware. A glaze containing tin oxide produces an opaque white brilliant surface. It hides the coloured clay and produces a surface similar to porcelain, and can be decorated. Tin-glazed earthenware in Europe is commonly known as maiolica, faience or Delftware, according to where it was made. Porcelain was imported into north-western Europe in bulk from China and Japan, where it provided the inspiration and stimulus for potters during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Huge quantities of tin-glazed earthenware with similar decorative motifs was produced to meet a rising market demand for a cheaper alternative.
This unusually large Delftware jug is entirely European in form, but combines blue Chinese decorative motifs with Renaissance motifs: in the centre is a polychrome medallion in the Italian maiolica style, with a scene of the biblical story of Sampson and the Lion (Judges 14).
The jug was probably made in the Montague Close workshop in Southwark. Immigrant potters from continental Europe had started making tin-glazed earthenware in London from the end of the sixteenth century. The production of Delftware in the Montague Close workshop began around 1613. The initials 'IP' on the neck of the jug possibly refer to Jacob Prynn, a Delftware potter who took over the workshop around 1625; 'HTD', below the handle, stands for Thomas Hartley, a brewer in the Parish of St Olave, Southwark, who married his second wife, Dorothea, in 1614. This jug could have been made in commemoration of that marriage.
F. Britton, London Delftware (London, Johnathan Horne, 1987)
T. Wilson, Ceramic art of the Italian Ren, exh. cat. (London, The British Museum Press, 1987)
H. Tait, 'Southwark (Alias Lambeth) Delftware and the potter, Christian Wilhelm: II', The Connoisseur (February 1961)
H. Tait, 'Southwark (Alias Lambeth) Delftware and the potter, Christian Wilhelm: I', The Connoisseur-1 (August 1960)