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London Salt-Glazed Stoneware

August 7, 2023
by the gentle author

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As one who thought nobody else shared my passion for old salt-glazed stoneware, I was overjoyed when Philip Mernick granted me 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 (where Dickens worked as a boy)

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

5 Responses leave one →
  1. August 7, 2023

    a fascinating article, thank you very much! we have a few items which I believe are salt glazed in Christchurch Mansion, Ipswich, and I think the frog in the mug may be one of them. [I think it’s 18thc] I must look when I am next in there. familiarity alas breeds a failure to look closely, as a child it was the feather dolls house furniture in the next cabinet which fascinated me more.

  2. Cherub permalink
    August 7, 2023

    These are handsome items, I would love to have the boot shaped flask on a shelf.

  3. Paul Huckett permalink
    August 7, 2023

    Wonderful collection . I’ve spent fifty years as a dealer in Melbourne Australia , mainly dealing in antique English furniture and collectibles . So many of these pieces came to Australia in huge numbers . It was some years before we started making our own pottery . I bought and sold dozens like this over the years , mainly 19th commercial ware of many types . Fascinating to see such good examples . Thanks again .

  4. August 7, 2023

    You Brits!!!!!! I so enjoyed these distinctive objects, especially due to the fantastic photos. I felt like I could reach out and caress the glazed roundness here.

    May I take a moment to exclaim about the new-ish British Wing of the Metropolitan Museum of Art? I made a memorable visit on the very first DAY, probably the last important exhibit I saw before the pandemic arrived. Many examples of highly-glazed pottery are included, in addition to so many other wonders. Just the galleries themselves are incredibly beautiful, painted in the most fabulous colors (art directors notice such things………) like deep teal, oxblood, cobalt, and a complex shade of grey that defies description. A suitably-baronial environment that celebrates your design legacy. (and did I mention the plexiglass tower that houses at least 100 teapots of every description?)

    Thank you, GA, for shining a light.

  5. August 7, 2023

    Oh I simply love these salt glazed jugs but only have 4 to my collection. Thankyou for this great post and photo’s of so many I have never seem before.

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