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Bartmann Bottle

1607 (dated)
Origin: Europe, Germany, Frechen
Overall: 13 11/16 x 11 11/16 x 11 5/8in. (34.8 x 29.7 x 29.5cm)
Stoneware, salt-glazed, brown with blue
Museum Purchase
Acc. No. 1954-866
Globular bottle with tapering short neck and reeded lip; grooved loop handle. Molded on the front of the neck is a bearded mask; on front of body a complex coat of arms with "1607", coronet and mantling in oval medallion; on each side the head of a Roman emperor in a circular medallion with lettering in relief. Mottled brown at top shading to gray at base; medallions touched with cobalt blue.

Letters encircling medallions are in some cases reversed or upside down, but apparently signify Tiberius Claudius, Caesar Augustus on left and Nero Claudius, Caesar Augustus Germanicus on right.

The quartered arms are of (1) Julich-Kleve-Berg-Mark-Ravensberg and Moers, (2) unidentified, (3) Culemburg quartering Lecke and (4) a version of Orange-Nassau overlaid with a scotcheon of three bars (unidentified).

Label:Fragments from large blue-splashed Bartmann bottles have been excavated from many early seventeenth-century sites such as the Dutch settlements at Fort Orange and the Van Buren farmstead, both near Albany, New York, and at Schuyler Flatts, farther north on the Hudson River. Shards of such a vessel were also recovered from Burle’s Town Land, a location occupied from 1649 to 1676 in the town of Providence in Anne Arundel County, Maryland. The site was home to Robert Burle, surveyor for the town, and his wife, Mary. Although too fragmentary to cross mend, it is clear the Burle shards, like the medallion dredged from the Chesapeake, were from a substantial bottle of circa 1600 ornamented with a complex coat of arms enhanced with blue. Most large early Bartmann bottles of one or more gallon capacity feature three seals of repeating or differing designs. A dated 1607 example from the Colonial Williamsburg collection is unusual in the use of two relief-molded medallions inspired by Roman coinage, although its scale, complex armorials, and use of cobalt are evocative of the archaeological fragments from the Chesapeake Bay, Fort Orange, the Van Buren farmstead, and Burle’s Town Land.
Provenance:Purchased from M. F. Phillips Antiques, The White House, Milford, Staffordshire, England
Mark(s):dated 1607