Thursday, December 31, 2009

Bottom's Up!

In the spirit of New Year's Eve, I thought I would highlight a ceramic type that most commonly took the form of a tankard, since I am sure many folks will be out tonight welcoming in the New Year with friends, fireworks, and a tasty beverage! Manganese Mottled is a type of earthenware with a buff to gray paste and a distinct lead glaze, with some variation in color (as is the case with many ceramic types). This ware was produced in England from the late 17th century into the mid-18th century. The glaze is best for identifying this type, as although it ranges from a yellowish-brown to yellow or red, the glaze pools in slightly grooved or banded areas, resulting in darker specks. These darker specks can streak horizontal or vertical, and their mottling with the lighter glaze is what gave this ceramic the second half of its name (please click the images for a better view of this characteristic). As for the "Manganese" part, it was thought that Manganese was used to color the glaze, and, despite more recent investigations have shown that Manganese may not have been used, the name has stuck. We have found numerous sherds of this ware at Port Tobacco, but I have opted to use the images from the Jefferson Patterson website as the mottling is much more visible on the larger sherds they have photographed.

So, as you raise your glass to toast the new year tonight imagine that the folks down in Port Tobacco in 1710 or so doing the same...except with a Manganese Mottled tankard!

Thanks to Jefferson Patterson for the info and the images.

I wish you all a safe and fun night.

Postscript from Jim:
Yes, no doubt the early colonists did raise a glass or two, or three, to celebrate the new year, but they did so on the evening of March 24 and on March 25, the first day of the year on the old calendar. More on that tomorrow.

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