Archive for July 2, 2012

Postscript: an unrecorded jug pattern…

A footnote to the project…

During the mini-Big Dig held in Whithorn in May to close the project, fragments of a large earthenware jug were dug up in the back garden of the Old Town Hall. Our pottery expert, George Haggarty, has identified the sherds and found that they come from an unrecorded pattern produced in one of the largest Glasgow potteries.


The reconstructed jug

A large number of shards were found to conjoin from a large standard white earthenware jug almost certainly from a matching late Victorian jug and basin washing set.  On the base of the jug is a blue oval backstamp with the name of the very large and important Glasgow pottery of (John & Mathew Perston Bell & Company) along with the pattern name (SARDINI A).  The surviving blue and white pattern consists of a decorative transfer print in the form of a belt around its middle touches of hand painting on its handle terminal and probably a painted band on its rim.   This pattern was not listed in the late Harry Kelly’s book on the Bells pottery; it therefore may be an unrecorded pattern.


The pattern stamp


Stoneware Ink Bottle

This large once-fired white stoneware ink bottle 267mm high stamped “FIELD LONDON” was also found. It is almost certainly for a print works or schoolhouse.

The company was founded by Thomas Field of Lambeth sometime prior to 1642 and a John Field was listed as a wax-chandler of Lambeth London in 1768.  Later the firm was listed as wax-chandler to the Prince Regent in 1820 and had a shop in Wigmore Street between c. 1820 and 1860. The title of John, Charles & John Field was adopted c. 1830.  The manufacture of soap began in Lower Fore Sweet, Lambeth c. 1845, and was moved to Bermondsey in the late 1850s. This works closed in 1894.

Ink bottle

Stoneware ink bottle stamped 'Field London'

Nightlights were listed among the firm’s products in 1853 and candles soon after by which time it specialised in self-snuffing candles and ‘Ozokerit’ candles for tropical climates. The ‘Ozokerit’ refining process was apparently the keystone of its candle business. In 1887 the company was registered as J. C. & J. Field Ltd and had purchased land for a factory at Rainham, Essex in 1903.  The firm ceased to describe themselves as wax-chandlers in 1912. In 1935 toilet preparations were taken up as a new line.  The company moved from Lambeth Marsh to Wimbledon in 1941, then in 1954 to Amersham where candles and soap were dropped from its production range.  It later was acquired by E. Griffiths Hughes of Manchester which became part of Aspro-Nicholas Ltd and now, after a number of further acquisitions and mergers, Bayer Healthcare.