AN EARLY AND VERY LARGE SALT-GLAZED STONEWARE BELLARMINE

AN EARLY AND VERY LARGE SALT-GLAZED STONEWARE BELLARMINE

Cologne, probably Maximinenstrasse workshop

1500-50

39.0 cm high

 

Applied with three masks to the neck, and the body with oak leaves, acorns and one Tudor rose on twisting stems, interspersed with birds.

The earliest surviving true stoneware in Cologne dates from about 1500. At the same time, the use of die cast moulds for the applied decorations and the wood-block press for the spread of fashionable designs began to be used, allowing for the emergence of this early Renaissance production.

In 1897 the remains of a kiln and associated waster pits containing sherds and kiln furniture were discovered on Maximinenstrasse.  Over 120 fragmentary vessels and hundreds of sherds were found, with characteristically grey body covered in a brown glaze. The most common types of applied relief were oak-leaves, acorns, rose-plants and thistles on bulbous mugs and jugs.

Although there were no dated pieces, many of the applied reliefs found at the site correspond to Anton Woesnam’s illustrations in Peter Quentel’s Modelbuch, published in Cologne in 1527. By the 1544 edition of the Modelbuch, these botanical patterns had fallen out of fashion and were omitted entirely. On the basis of this, and the similarity of the designs, Von Falke suggests that the most prolific stage of production was 1520-40, however rose and oak-leaf applied mugs have been discovered in excavated contexts in England as early as 1500-10 which pushes the production date slightly earlier, and on the other end, it can be assumed that this type of pattern would have continued to be produced slightly beyond 1544.

This design, of acorns and oak leaves on trailing stems is thought to represent the tree of Jesse, which refers to the ancestral lineage of Jesus Christ. What is unusual about this design, is that amongst the acorns, oak leaves and trailing stems is a single Tudor rose, a symbol of Henry VIII and the Tudor dynasty. A piece of the same group (V&A C.9-2002) was found near the wreckage of the Mary Rose, which sank in 1545, and is thought to have come from the ship. As we know pieces of this type were exported to England, and that this one was found in an old English context, the Tudor Rose suggests that this particular jug was made for export for an individual loyal to the king.

A detailed picture of the early trade of these pieces is provided by the excavation of the broken stock, deposited between 1518-1550, of two Dutch stoneware dealers (Jan-Peterss and Cornelis-de-Kannemann) trading from the Netherlands to Britain. Although the majority of the excavated pieces consisted of fairly plain Raeren proto-stonewares, a wide range of Cologne stoneware applied with various botanical designs were also found.

 

 

A mug (c. 1500-1520) excavated in a context dating to c. 1480-90 from Fountains Abbey, North Yorkshire (V&A 562-1883).

 

 

Condition:
Handle and two sections of neck restuck. Losses to scrolls on handle and applied decoration.

Provenance:
Deceased estate, Sussex

References:
David R.M. Gaimster, German Stoneware, 1200-1900: Archaeology and Cultural History, (British Museum Press, 1997), p. 56, pp. 144, pp. 191-207

Price: £38,000