- Museum number
Cylindrical earthenware (pearlware) mug with colourless lead-glaze; printed in underglaze blue. On the left are emblems of the British monarch: a rose, a thistle, and the royal crown resting on an architectural structure formed by the profiles of George III and Queen Charlotte; and on the right are emblems of the French throne: tangled roots formed from two vipers attacking a fleur-de-lis form the profiles of Louis XVI and Marie-Antoinette, beside a broken crown, sword, and sceptre. There is an inscription below. The handle is printed with a stylised floral design.
- Production date
- 1795 (circa)
Diameter: 3.90 inches (with handle)
Height: 3.60 inches
- Curator's comments
Politics in Britain and France shortly after the Revolution are satirized in the puzzle profiles disguised as optical illusions on this ale mug. Entwined vipers form the ambiguous or reversible profiles of the French sovereigns, flanked by a broken crown, sword and sceptre, while the British remain steadfast as a crowned architectural vase surrounded by their familiar emblems, the rose, and thistle. The design is after a series of entertaining puzzle portraits published on 18 January 1794 by Daniel Orme (See P&D Sarah Sophia Banks Collection J,11.123-127). A more decorative printed version on a folding fan integrating dead branches and a thriving tree, with an explanation in French, was published by John Cock and J. P. Wood, on 12 April 1794 (See P&D Lady Charlotte Schreiber Collection 1891,0713.84).
Attributed to Staffordshire by Hobson (1903).
A similar mug is illustrated by E. Morton Nance, 'The Pottery and Porcelain of Swansea & Nantgarw', London, 1942, Pl. IX A
The design derives from an engraving published by Orme on 18 January 1794 (Banks Collection J 11-126).
- On display (G46/dc18)
- Exhibition history
2018 12 Jan-11 Mar, BM, 90a, Pots with attitude: British satire on ceramics
- Associated titles
Associated Title: A New Puzzle of Portraits
- Acquisition date
- Britain, Europe and Prehistory
- Registration number