English Country Pottery: Bread Crock Handles Explored

LUGS – horizontal handles on English Country Pottery bread crocks and storage jars. 
The ‘skip’ pot in the previous post has thrown lugs typical of the kind found on pots from the Bristol area. Shallow thick-walled shapes are thrown, cut in half and attached base and all onto the jar shoulder. 
Amongst my sherd collection is this example that has separated completely from the pot showing the base clearly and the imprint of the slashing on the pot wall where it was attached. Note the sharp cut ends on both of these handles. 
This is another on a large plant pot also acquired in Bristol (a long time ago). 
Thrown handles don’t seem to be something contemporary studio potters have inherited but they are not unique to these particular pots. The example below comes from a frost-shattered storage-jar I came across.  I did have another shoulder sherd with some slip decoration. The body and decoration suggest Northwest Midlands or North Wales. The lug is thrown but this time a length of dish wall has been cut off leaving the base behind and then luted on to the jar. The underside of the handle makes the thrown form particularly clear. Again sliced ends seem typical of thrown lugs. 
As a complete contrast is this lovely bread crock. A bit smaller than the first one and with a delicate small base and resulting strong profile. This one came from a junk shop near Stroud in the Cotswolds. I have searched for a parallel and I’m pretty sure that this one is from Winchcombe or one of the other potteries in that area. I have seen another one somewhere, also from the same area. I will update this when I have found it again.

Although superficially similar, the lugs are quite different. These are handbuilt. Probably a pulled handle or if not a thick coil formed into a C-section. Luted on in a curve the form is tightened by running a wet thumb and forefinger back and forth and then finger impressions are used to firm up the upper edge and decorate it. A nifty twist and a stab with a finger finishes off the end beautifully. 
Underneath it has been wipes around with a brush or a sponge. The irregularity again is indicative of the method of manufacture. This is a process you do find used by studio potters which is interesting when you consider where they got their technical knowledge from in the Leach/Cardew era. 

A rare and distinctive aspect of this pot is the bands of rouletted decoration apron the shoulder.

This entry was posted in Bristol, Folk and Country Pottery, Slipware. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s