Monday, October 1, 2007

Westerwald Stoneware

(Source: German Stoneware, 1997, David Gaimster)

(Left: test pit 1 behind the Burch House. Right: STP 111 in the Compton Field)

Most of the ceramics found in Port Tobacco can have their origins traced back to Britain. That is where the majority of the pieces came from through the 19th Century. During the 18th Century a few popular pieces found their way from Germany into Britain and then on to the states. This is true of the pieces you will see here today. These are Westerwald ceramics which come from the Rhineland area of Europe. They were most commonly used as utilitarian wares such as chamber pots and mugs. These wares are a heavy stoneware with a gray coloring and blue decorations. In the early 17th Century these decorations included continuous engraving, stamped and applied ornamentation picturing biblical and mythological figures as well as rulers and formal portraits.

By the 18th Century when they arrived in the colonies from Britain they were more uniformed with floral decorations. The cylindrical mugs and chamberpots of Westerwald design dominated the North American ceramics of utilitarian ware as it's blue-painted decorations were proving to be more sought out than the local utilitarian wares and the plain brown stoneware coming out of England.

In the two pictures above we have examples of pieces of Westerwald stonewares found in Port Tobacco and along with a whole tankard of the 18th Century. I'll be back next week with another ceramic update from Port Tobacco.

- Peter

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