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Jug (England), ca. 1872

This is a Jug. It was designed by Christopher Dresser. It is dated ca. 1872 and we acquired it in 2012. Its medium is terracotta. It is a part of the Product Design and Decorative Arts department.

Christopher Dresser is one of the most innovative and influential designers of the 19th century. He was particularly varied and creative in his designs for ceramics, which ranged from the more formal and Japanese-influenced designs he produced for Minton to his organic, art nouveau forms for Linthorpe Art Pottery, Dresser is also credited with the designs for the angular geometric shapes in unglazed terra cotta produced by Watcombe Pottery of Torquay in Devon, England.
Watcombe Pottery was established in 1867 by G. J. Allen, who discovered the local red clay unique to South Devon. The use of the terra cotta jug form references early German, Anglo Saxon, and ancient production for wine ewers. The repeated fluted bands add an abstract quality that presages modern design, but executed in an ancient material. The angular handle can be found on other Dresser designs, including metalwork. Occasionally, these jugs had lids made of silver or other metal and sometimes featured bands of geometric decoration.
Unglazed pottery was popular in the 1870s and 1880s, due in part to the innovative style that Dresser developed as well as to a more general interest in reviving age-old arts and crafts. The museum holds ceramics, furniture, wallcoverings, and metalwork designed by Dresser, including examples of designs for both Linthorpe and Minton. This jug would be the first example of Dresser’s unglazed ceramic design to enter the museum’s collection.

It is credited Museum purchase from Charles E. Sampson Memorial Fund.

  • Pitcher, 1963
  • blown and cased glass (inciso), silver-plated brass.
  • Gift of George R. Kravis II.
  • 2016-5-20-a,b
  • Jug, ca 1750
  • tin-glazed earthenware; pewter mount.
  • Gift of Eugene V. and Clare E. Thaw.
  • 2017-20-11

Its dimensions are

H x W: 17.8 x 10.2 cm (7 x 4 in.)

It has the following markings

Bottom of base stamped with hallmark and "WATCOMBE. / TORQUAY"

Cite this object as

Jug (England), ca. 1872; Designed by Christopher Dresser (British, 1834–1904); terracotta; H x W: 17.8 x 10.2 cm (7 x 4 in.); Museum purchase from Charles E. Sampson Memorial Fund; 2012-7-2

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<ref name=CH>{{cite web |url=https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18797295/ |title=Jug (England), ca. 1872 |author=Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum |accessdate=20 May 2019 |publisher=Smithsonian Institution}}</ref>