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London Salt-Glazed Stoneware

December 19, 2013
by the gentle author

As one who thought nobody else shared my passion for old salt-glazed stoneware, I was overjoyed to meet Philip Mernick and be granted the opportunity to photograph these fine examples from his vast and historically-comprehensive collection which is greatly superior to my modest assembly.

In London, John Dwight of Fulham ascertained the method of the salt glaze process for rendering earthenware impermeable in 1671, thus breaking the German monopoly on Bellarmine jugs. Yet it was Henry Doulton in the nineteenth century who exploited the process on an industrial scale in Lambeth, especially in the profitable fields of bottle-making and drainpipes, before starting the manufacture of art pottery in 1870.

It is the utilitarian quality of this distinctive London pottery that appeals to me, lending itself to a popular style of decoration which approaches urban folk art. “I like it for its look,” Philip Mernick admitted , “but because nothing is marked until the late nineteenth century, it’s the mystery that appeals to me – trying to piece together who made what and when.”

Jug by Vauxhall Pottery 1810

Blacking bottles – Everett 1910 & Warren 1830

Gin Flagon, Fulham Pottery c. 1840

Spirit Flask in the shape of a boot by Deptford Stone Pottery c. 1840

Spirit flask in the shape of a pistol by Stephen Green and in the shape of a powder flask by Thomas Smith of Lambeth Pottery c. 1840

Reform flasks – Wiliam IV Reform flask by Doulton & Watts, eighteen- thirties, and Mrs Caudle flask by Brayne of Lambeth, eighteen-forties

Spirit flask of John Burns, Docks Union Leader, Doulton Pottery 1910

Nelson jug by Doulton & Watts 1830

Duke of Wellington jug by Stephen Green of Lambeth Pottery 1830

Mortlake Pottery Tankard, seventeen-nineties

Old Tom figure upon a Fulham Pottery Tankard c. 1830

Silenus jug by Stephen Green of Lambeth Pottery c. 1840

Victoria & Albert jug by Stephen Green of Lambeth Pottery 1840

Stag hunt jug by Doulton & Watts c. 1840

Mortlake Pottery jug, seventeen-nineties

Doulton jug hallmarked 1882

Jug by Thomas Smith of Lambeth Pottery 1840

Fulham Pottery jug c. 1830

Stiff Pottery jug c. 1850

Mortlake Pottery jug 1812

Figure of Toby Philpot on Mortlake jug

Deptford Pottery jug 1860

Stiff Pottery jug, with seller’s name in Limehouse 1860

Vauxhall Pottery jug with image of the pavilion at Vauxhall Gardens and believed to have been used there in the eighteen-thirties

Tobacco jug by Doulton & Watts, eighteen-forties

You may also like to read my earlier article

Doulton Lambeth Ware

9 Responses leave one →
  1. December 19, 2013

    Oh no, you’re by no means alone in your appreciation of salt glazed stoneware. I’ve loved it since I first became aware of it maybe 40 years ago. I love its handsome, rugged quality, though I prefer it undecorated I think. My only pieces are Geraman, so it’s good to have the chance to see these more local wares. Love that gin flask. Thank you!

  2. Libby Hall permalink
    December 19, 2013

    What a fantastic collection! (And what excellent photographs.)

  3. December 19, 2013

    Who was Mrs Caudle?
    Champion croquet player of the 1840s?

  4. Melvyn Brooks permalink
    December 19, 2013

    Oozing with envy at the gems in Philip Mernicks’ beautiful collection. I would love to read of the stories of how some of the pieces were found and restored.
    Thanks Melvyn m Karkur, Israel

  5. December 19, 2013

    Really some grand “no-name” artists!
    ACHIM

  6. aubrey permalink
    December 19, 2013

    The drainage and sewerage pipework of to-day consist mostly of polymer and spun clay; but when I was first introduced to the civil engineering profession, the below ground pipework then was nearly always salt glazeware (SWG as we called it). Incidentally, in the far off days of the fifties when I attended The Borough Beaufoy School (now defunct) in Black Prince Road, Lambeth, I passed by the Doulton plant, daily; completely oblivious to it’s function! I wish I had had the opportunity to visit the plant then- oh wasted youth.

  7. December 19, 2013

    Stunning! Why can’t we make anything like these nowadays!

  8. Stephen Barker permalink
    December 19, 2013

    Mlleparadis. I should imagine the reason pieces like this are no longer produced is that the demand stopped in the past and it became uneconomic for the manufacturers.

    I noticed that many of pieces had the same or similar hounds and horsemen on the lower part part of the body. Was there a standard body of which they were a part and the decoration on the upper part of the body was added before firing?

  9. December 19, 2013

    Wonderful collection! And the Warrens blacking bottle probably from the same company that Charles Dickens worked for as a boy, though the factory he worked in was near what is now Hungerford Bridge.

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