Posts Tagged ‘redware’

Samuel Hollins coffee pot with silver lid, c.1790

Sunday, May 17th, 2020

I was thrilled to find this elegant baluster form, dry-bodied redware pottery coffee pot recently. It was made by Samuel Hollins in Staffordshire, England, circa 1784-1813, and stands 9 inches high. The applied sprigged decoration of a woman playing the harp is featured on one side, and The Birth of Achilles is on the reverse. Thin silver resist bands decorate the middle, rim, and spout.

The owners of this coffee pot must have been well off, as instead of carving a new lid out of wood or taking it to an itinerant tinsmith for a tin replacement after the original lid broke, they brought it to an established London silversmith for repair. The heavy sterling silver replacement lid is clearly stamped with the maker’s initials HWC, for Henry William Curry, and a date mark for 1867. I think the shiny new lid, beautifully offset by the rich red color of the stoneware, looks better than the original. But then of course, I’m biased.

Check out a previous post, Samuel Hollins stoneware coffee pot, c.1800 showing another Hollins coffeepot with similar form and decoration, but with a more humble repair.

This is what the original domed lid on my coffee pot would have looked like, had it not been broken and replaced.

Photo courtesy of WorthPoint

English diptware jug, c.1800

Sunday, October 27th, 2013

I purchased this 7-3/4″ tall jug from a collector last February and it quickly became one of my favorites. The simple form, hot chocolate colored glaze, and impressive tin handle with strapping make it a visual delight. When I brought this jug to one of Don Carpentier’s workshops at Eastfield Village this summer, he marveled at it and said it was something special. So rather than try to describe it myself, here is what Don had to say:

“It is a baluster form English earthenware jug 1790-1810.  It is technically know as diptware because it was decorated with slip. The design at the rim inslip-inlaid checkered rouletting.  Made by impressing the design in the leather hard clay on the lathe with a roulette tool and then flooding the area with dark slip.  When the slip sets up to leather hard it is put back on the lathe and trimmed down flush with the surface of the body and the design is inlaid.”

The tinsmith who crafted the metal replacement handle did a fine job securing it to the jug, by means of straps running diagonally across the ovoid form. He also added a comfortable hand support, thumb rest and small curled flourish at the bottom. Sadly, some of the jug’s best features are covered by the tin handle, such as the intricate leaf terminals and almost half of the checkered rim. But without the added handle, the original owner would not be able to use the jug for its intended purpose and I would have nothing to write about today!

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This jug with similar form and rouletted black slip-filled herringbone mid-band, shows what the original loop handle on my jug may have looked like.


Photo courtesy of Prices4Antiques

Redware vixen stirrup cup, c.1775

Sunday, April 28th, 2013

This redware pottery figural stirrup cup was made in England in the third quarter of the 18th century and is in the form of a cunning little vixen’s head. L-shaped, it measures 4″ tall by 6-1/4″ wide and is freestanding, which is unusual, as most stirrup cups are base-less and unable to stand on their own. Stirrup cups, traditionally filled with port or sherry, were given to guests as a parting drink at the conclusion of a fox hunt, while their feet were still in their stirrups. This tradition began in the United Kingdom in the 18th century and continued for hundreds of years. As this sport never ended well for the fox, it was finally banned in Scotland in 2002 and in England and Wales just three years later.




The original handle must have broken off after an inebriated hunter grabbed the cup at the conclusion of the hunt, downed his sherry, then promptly fell off his horse, dropping and breaking the prized vessel. I imagine the host was not pleased by the guest’s unruly behavior and surely did not invite him back anytime soon. Luckily, a metalsmith, most likely in the 19th century, came to the rescue and fashioned a new handle with support bands, thus enabling another, more sober guest to stay in the saddle and toast his gracious host.



An original paper label on the bottom links this cup to esteemed collector and author Frank Falkner of Cheshire, England. The June 1905 issue of Glass and Pottery World contains an article that includes this amusing excerpt: “Mr. Falkner and Mr. Lidelstham had a hobby for old pottery, but they did not follow the usual practice of collectors by acquiring rare specimens of old Sevres, Worcester, Crown Derby, Wedgwood or others of the same high class. They directed their attention to the homely figures and ornaments with which ‘the rural population of a century ago used to deck their dresser or mantel shelf. These common rustic figures, made by men who were little more than peasants themselves, had been passed over in silence for the most part even in ceramic histories.'”


The Stirrup Cup by Heywood Hardy (1842-1933) shows hunters being offered drinks in figural stirrup cups by their host.


Another fine example of a rare L-shaped stirrup cup, this one is in the form of a hare, and still with its original handle.


Photo courtesy of Earle D. Vandekar