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Bartmann Bottle

1625-1650
Origin: Europe, Germany, Frechen
Overall: 8 x 5 9/16 x 5 9/16in. (21 x 14.1 x 14.1cm)
Stoneware, salt-glazed, brown
Museum Purchase
Acc. No. 1954-793
Bartmann bottle of globular shape with tapering neck molded at top; loop handle. Molded on the front of the neck with a mask of a bearded man and, on the belly, a seal bearing the arms of Amsterdam with crown and scrolled mantling in oval. Mottled brown on gray.
Label:The arms of Amsterdam are among the identifiable medallions found on Bartmann bottles. Not surprisingly, fragments with the arms of Amsterdam appear at American colonial archaeological sites in locations such as Fort Orange, the first permanent settlement established by the Dutch West India Company in North America in 1624. Eventually, the territory claimed by the Dutch for New Netherland expanded to include an area ranging from Connecticut to New Jersey and from Manhattan to beyond Albany. The presence of wares with the Amsterdam arms was undoubtedly the result of direct trade from the Netherlands both before and after England’s attempt to control transatlantic commerce with the passage of the first Navigation Acts in 1651. Indeed, there is persuasive evidence to suggest that vessels sanctioned by the Dutch West India Company and independent ships from Holland plied the American coast from New England to Virginia during much of the seventeenth century. Dynamic trade brought a whole range of manufactured goods, including Rhenish stoneware objects like this bottle, to English and Dutch colonists in America during the first century of settlement.

Examples of Bartmann bottles with the arms of Amsterdam have been recovered from the wrecks of the Dutch East India ships Witte Leeuw and Batavia, lost in 1629. A bottle bearing these arms and the date 1648 in the collections of the Museum of London and one salvaged from the remains of the Dutch East India ship the Vergulde Draeck [Gilded Dragon] of 1656 confirm the enduring popularity of the motif.
Provenance:Purchased from A. F. Allbrook, Old English Furniture, Pottery & Porcelain, London***