s Chipstone | Posset pot

Posset pot

Bristol, England
Buff earthenware with bluish white tin glaze
9 5/8 x 9 5/8 in. (24.45 x 24.45 cm)
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Posset pot, 1705-1720
Buff earthenware with bluish white tin glaze
9 5/8 x 9 5/8 in. (24.45 x 24.45 cm)
The Chipstone Foundation 1957.12

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The pot is thrown and has a possibly married lid, topped by a mushroom finial. The tubular spout is centered between two handles with scrolled terminals. The footrim edge and lower edge of the lid are unglazed. Painted decoration primarily includes flowers and foliage. That on the body has parsley-like motifs, and that on the lid has dot rings. Lid borders consist of horizontal lines and dashes. On the body, borders include a wavy band of scrollwork and horizontal lines. On the handles and spout are slashes flanked with dots. The finial top bears a flower motif.

The decorative patterns on Chipstone's pot, especially the rhomboidal brush strokes that imply foliage, is typical of examples made from around 1705 to 1720.[1] Posset pots of this general shape were made in London and Bristol. Slightly earlier than the pot shown here are examples listed in the 1699 death inventory of John Robins, manager of the Pickleherring Potteries. Posset pots "In the two Pott Houses in Vine-yard and Stoney Lane Southwarke" sometimes are identified by size and decorative state. Among "White and Painted Perfect Ware," or delftware ready for sale, are "midle white possett potts," "midle painted possett potts," "small painted possett potts," and "small white possett potts." [2] The factory also sold seconds as indicated by entries for "faulty pint possett potts" and "faulty [small]" posset pots.[3] Differences in decorative elements on the lid and body, as well as the poor fit of the pieces and the use of different shades of blue on each indicate that the pieces were produced in the same period but assembled as a set some time later.

1] Comments of Michael Archer (September 1992), Senior Research Curator, Ceramics and Glass, Victoria and Albert Museum, London.
[2] Frank Britton, "The Pickleherring Potteries: an inventory," Post-Medieval Archaeology, vol. 24 (1990), 67.
[3] Britton, "Pickleherring," 69.; Dealer: David Stockwell, Inc.

Leslie B. Grigsby, 2004


This information is subject to change as the result of ongoing research.