English Country Pottery: A Bread Crock from a Bristol Skip

I had to rescue this even if it was sitting in bits in a pool of rainwater and garden waste at the bottom of a skip.

Poor old thing had been used as a plant pot. Hundred of them went west that way in the last few decades. This one has the base drilled but the frost always gets enclosed shapes in the end. Someone took the trouble to paste it together with cement after it was broken for the first time but in the end it went in a skip just down the road from me a couple of weeks ago. I’ve chipped off the cement and given it a scrub. The base sherds had been ground down to get them to fit. 

Pretty good-looking pot once it’s been cleaned up. This shape is common round here and the thrown handles are characteristic. The glossy orange glaze is also typical. It would date to sometime between 1850 – 1940. John Edgeler illustrates one as from Winchcombe before Cardew’s day on p. 40 of his book Michael Cardew and the West Country Slipware Tradition but I don’t agree. You see  them fairly frequently around Bristol and North Somerset and there were redware potteries in Clevedon and Weston-super-Mare as well as Bristol to supply them. The Barton Hill Pottery (see blog 04/02/14) would be one.

The knife cut upside down Y inside one handle is intriguing. You can see clearly how these handles were made – a shallow thick walled form is thrown, cut in half and stuck on base and all. 

This small one came from a local car boot sale a few years ago. The glaze is identical right down to the iron spots from inclusions in the clay. The lid is a rare bonus.

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