Friday, 25 January 2013

Mudlarking Double

A low low tide brought out the mudlarkers. Even London's first snow didn't deter. I linked up with familiar faces on the Georgian mud bank. Andrew pulled out an almost complete Worcester jug that he'd found a few weeks ago and asked us to look out for the missing shard. Later he kindly handed me a large bag full of Worcester shards, 'spares' from his 20 years mudlarking. 
Andrew's Worcester Jug found Mudlarking
Andrew and Brian pointed out that there was an even lower tide the next day, just too tempting to resist, I scuttled down again the following day squeezing an hour in before I met my husband for our exploring 'secret London' walk in the city. There was no way he was coming down to the Thames on a cold and snowy day, even a flask of coffee couldn't tempt. 

These 300+ year old Bartmann beards seem to be coming my way at the moment. What appears at first glance a pottery accident are intentional daubs of cobalt blue. Satisfyingly I came across a match in the Museum of London's collection, I still don't quite 'get' the effect. 
Mudlarking Find: Bartmann Beard with splashes of blue glaze
Frechen stoneware bottle  15551-1700 (Museum of London) 
Two favourite finds are stoneware, I think. Unnervingly both look freshly cast, suggesting the Thames has just released them from its preserving muddy embrace. Two hours pursuing them on google failed to reveal their identity - enough was enough and I gave up the chase. 

The first is 9cm tall. The potter has decorated the vessel with ribbing as they pulled up the clay on the wheel. The flared base has been lightly thumbed to decorate, a more restrained version of the German Raeren and Siegburg jugs and beakers from the 14th - 19th C.The straight sides are confusing me somewhat, as these old jugs and drinking vessels tend to be bulbous, is it a tumbler?  Covered in a rather handsome brown mottled glaze. Rather messy brush stokes hidden on the base make it all rather human, suddenly collapsing the centuries. 

Mudlarking Find stoneware beaker?
The second is slightly taller and I suspect a pot handle. Wheel made spiralling up inside. Whilst not perfect it's rather refined and covered in the confident swish swash brush stokes that applied the glaze, I like the fact you can see it gunking up in places.

Mudlarking Find: Stoneware handle
Mudlarking Find: Stoneware pot handle

A few other pieces I thought were worth putting up are a delftware swirl and  an earthenware pottery lid with small white relief flowers

Mudlarking Find: Delftware swirl

Mudlarking Find: Small earthenware lid
I came across the picture below on this pinterest site, apart from the dog it's exactly the same, from a Staffordshire glazed redware armorial teapot circa 1740 - 1745, with white slip sprigs. 

Lastly my first butterflies, one porcelain courtesy of Brian's sharp eyes,  strangely a rather finely drawn Worcester insect and a transfer swift and a nice chunk of incised Westerwald fired up with cobalt blue below. 
Mudlarking Finds: Birds Butterflies and insect. 
Mudlarking Find: Incised Westerwald 

1 comment:

  1. Hi Julia,

    With regards to your 'pot handle,' have you considered that it might be an alembic spout? I know some ceramic alembics were in use during the early 17th century settlement of the Maryland/Virginia region of the US (the Ivor Noel Hume book "Martin's Hundred" discusses the discovery of one in detail), so I would assume they were being used in London, as well. Just thought I'd suggest the possibility.

    Happy hunting!