Saturday, October 17, 2009

England, Metropolitan Ware

17. England, Metropolitan ware, red earthenware trailed and feathered slip, 17th c.
The slipware industry developed in England as part of a "pan-European fashion" for decorative tablewares. Wares such as these competed with more expensive tin-glazed wares, which represented the height of fashion in middle-class homes. Tin-glaze, in turn, competed with and was influenced by blue and white Chinese porcelain imported into the region at this time. The designs were made by trailing light coloured slip onto red earthenware through a cow-horn or pottery vessel fitted with a quill or reed; the wares were then lead-glazed and once-fired, making a very economical product for the lower end of the social spectrum. A wide range of decorative motifs were employed including geometric, floral and figural designs appropriate for the urban market. One defining feature was the use of texts, a practice possibly originating in the previous century in the Rhineland area of Germany with texts added to salt-glazed stoneware. Metropolitan wares produced in Essex featured texts applied in block letters with pious aphorisms urging humility, charity or loyalty to the crown. Texts influenced by the Puritan government of the day were replaced with royalist messages after the restoration of the monarchy in 1660. See David Gaimster, "Regional Decorative Traditions in English Post-Medieval Slipware," in your course text, pp 129-130.

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