Monday, 2 April 2012

Bartmann Jugs 1550- 1700

Also called ‘Bellarmines’, produced in Cologne and surrounding towns such as Frechen, Germany, from 1550 – 1700 and exported to England in large quantities. They were later manufactured in England. These pieces have a very distinctive mottled effect, which was achieved by throwing salt into the kiln, producing a texture similar to orange peel. The fragments are likely to originate from jugs and bottles. For someone who knows nothing about pottery, I've found out that they are made of stoneware, a clay which is fired at high temperatures. This results in a more sturdy and chip resistant product which is more suited to transportation and storing liquids and food,  which is precisely what the Bartmann Jugs were used for. 
Salt glaze pieces, middle fragments from  Bartman Jugs 'eye' and 'beard' and 'medallion'  found Mudlarking  
Bartman Jug 

The face of a bearded man is emblazoned in relief decoration, on the neck of each one. Originally thought to represent the mythical wild man, popular in northern European folklore from 14th century. Later the face became linked with cardinal Robert Bellarmine (1542-1621), a fierce opponent of alcohol and Protestantism in Germany, perhaps by protestants wishing to ridicule the cardinal by associating him with vessels carrying alcohol. In the 17th century, many would be decorated with a medallion in the middle of the body, usually a coat of arms of royalty, noble families or towns. No success yet in finding a full Bartmann face, tantalisingly I’ve found a few fragments of face , an eye and beard and other decorations, perhaps monograms, sections of handles and undecorated jug pieces. One to keep looking for.


  1. Hi Julia,
    I love your informative blogs! Your research has helped me identify many of my foreshore finds. I like the combination of the pictures of your foreshore finds and complete museum artefacts. It’s fascinating to read your descriptions and the historical background info. Unlike most mudlarks who are interested primarily in coins, pilgrim badges and metallic objects, I like the fact that you are interested in ceramics and other ordinary objects found on the foreshore. I look forward to reading more. See you on the foreshore!

  2. I am also enjoying your blog for the first time, Julia. I was hooked on mudlarking during a February visit in 2011, dreamed about it till I could return this summer (during the Olympics.........probably one of the few people here but not for that...). Every entry of your blog has brought back memories--I love that you are interested in ceramics. I had no idea what I was looking at in 2011. But I went to the V&A museum, where the entire top floor is ceramics, and was able to place the shards in context.
    Keep going!!!!

    Carolyn Hahn, NYC

  3. I found a bartmann jug off shetland yesterday on a scallop boat dredging beside the small isle called "muckle skerry" would like to know how old it is. three boats have wrecked there in the past, the Kemmerland 1664, De Leifde 1711 and North wind 1906. can I send you a photo?

  4. Hi Matt, how exciting! It is certainly going to be 300+ years old and when the museums tend to date these, they give an age range of 150 years. As you have probably gathered I am really no expert and just try and use the net to track down what the fragments I have found might have come from. From the little I know, the jug will either be German or from London. If it's German the best way I've found of identifying a bit more about it, is from the Museum of London's database, loads of pictures & details which are easy to flick through

    If it's from London try same database here is the URL
    Whilst I'd be very happy to look at a photo I'm wouldn't be doing anything more than looking through these databases. I'm sure the local Museums will also be able to help you + very interested in your find! Good luck Julia

  5. Hello, I have found almost the identical pieces you show in the above smaller photo. I am so glad to be able to use your blog as a reference guide. I'm new to the mudlarking hobby, but have scoured the foreshore about 8 times in the last 6 weeks, collecting nearly a thousand pieces of porcelain , hundreds off pottery shards, a bunch of clay pipes, various bottle pieces, glass remnants , some odd metal shapes, nails, and more. As an American living in the USA, I come to London about 5 times a month. Crazy me has even planned my trips according to the tide chart. I'm thinking of starting a blog of my own, encouraged by your blog and awesome info. See you on the foreshore!!

  6. Glad the blog has been of use to you, and yes please do start your own, as it's always great to see what others find. I'm sure you will take anything you find of note down the Finds Officer at the Museum of London and yes perhaps we'll meet up down on the Thames, you are certainly managing to go more frequently than I am! Julia