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ca. 1745-1770
Origin: England, Staffordshire
H: 7 13/16"; Diam: (with handle and spout): 7 3/8"; Diam: (body) 5 5/8".
Stoneware, salt-glazed, white with blue (scratch blue)
Museum Purchase
Acc. No. 1957-95
Jug, scratch blue. White inverted baluster-shape jug with flaring rim, wide, flat loop handle with pinched base, angular large poring lip. Single turnedline at rim, one wide between 2 narrow turned ribs around neck base, turned waisted foot supporting belly. Decoration--all incised patterns decorated in blue. Centered under pouring lip is freely drawn asymmetrical flowering plant which extends to left and rignt. Wide turned rib at neck base incised with continuous line of swags (stopping on either side 1"-2" short of the handle base) with semicircular centers and, to right side of jug only, with vertical lines below swags at joins. Roughly centered below pouring spout and belowribbing is an horizontally oriented flowering plant extending slightly more than 1/2 way around diameter.
Label:By the 1720s, potters began to embellish white stoneware with incised lines colored brown. Known today as “scratch brown,” such wares are rarely found in early America. Scratch blue, however, was extremely popular from the mid 1740s onward. Both variations featured floral and linear designs and border patterns cut into the still damp clay of unfired wares. These lines were then filled with iron for brown or cobalt for blue which, when fired, created a pleasing color within the carved motifs. Writing in 1829, the early Staffordshire historian Simeon Shaw described the manufacture of scratch blue as being primarily practiced by women, stating, “The Flowerers now scratched the jugs and tea ware, with a sharp pointed nail, and filled the interstices with ground zaffre [a form of cobalt].” Scratch blue objects like this jug were widely offered for sale in colonial newspapers, where they were listed among “white, blue and white, and enamelled stone ware.” Fragments of straight-sided drinking vessels and pitchers enhanced with scratch blue decoration are frequently recovered at archaeological sites dating from about 1745 to 1780. Characteristically, specimens are ornamented with patterns of stylized grass or lush floral designs.
Provenance:Purchased from Matthew & Elisabeth Sharpe, Conshohocken, PA ***