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Tankard

ca. 1710
Origin: England, London
Overall: 6 1/4 x 5 13/16 x 4 1/16in. (15.9 x 14.8 x 10.3cm)
Stoneware, salt-glazed, brown
Museum Purchase
Acc. No. 1966-371
Tankard: cylindrical with incised line at edge, three part molding at foot; and strap loop handle with thumb mark at lower terminal. Top 2/3 dipped in brown slip giving tiger ware glaze.
Label:The extended use of the “WRWR” mark does not permit tight dating, but it does explain the widespread prevalence of wares bearing this device. Nonetheless, completely unmarked eighteenth-century tankards like this one are also common at American archaeological sites (1966-371, 1966-372). Excavations of the Rumney/West Tavern in London Town, Maryland, document the presence of such wares. A cellar that had been filled with refuse around 1725 yielded shards from seven to nine brown stoneware tankards; of these, only two carried the “WR” insignia, while the others apparently were unstamped. The not-insignificant number of extant unmarked tankards begs the question of how rigorously the ale-measure act was enforced, especially with regard to wares destined for sale abroad. Some authors have suggested that the largely utilitarian products of the Bristol potteries were produced primarily for export to Ireland and the colonies. The presence in early America of Bristol-made brown stoneware is borne out by fragments of two tankards of about 1745 recovered from the Chiswell-Bucktrout House site in Williamsburg.
One is stamped at the rim and the other is marked under the lower handle terminal with the “GR” measure mark distinctive to Bristol. A 1776 advertisement in the Pennsylvania Evening Post offering “Bristol stone butter pots, pickling jars, jugs, bottles and mugs, from a pint to six gallons” further confirms colonial importation of wares from that region.
Provenance:Ex coll: F.H. Garner #1060 (label on bottom) Perhaps sold at auction at Sotheby & Co., CATALOGUE OF THE WELL KNOWN COLLECTION OF ENGLISH DELFTWARE AND CONTINENTAL POTTERY, June 1, 1965 (London, 1965), lot 17 or 19.
Purchased from Tilley & Co., London ***
Mark(s):Note: This mug does NOT bear a WR capacity mark