Thursday, January 24, 2008

The Posset Pot

Today I went with the Art Appreciation Group of the Faculty Women's Group to the Museum of Anthropology to take part in a new guided tour the museum is offering called A Matter of Taste: Ceramics and Culinary Connections.

One of the great benefactors of both the University of British Columbia and the museum itself was Walter C. Koerner and housed in the museum in its own gallery is Koerner's personal collection of European ceramics which is a world-class collection of over 600 pieces made between 1500 and 1900.

I will tell you more about this different tour at a later date but today I am just going to give you a teaser of what you will see there.

A posset pot of English Delftware, which is tin-glazed
earthenware, made around 1660

A posset was a medicinal drink composed of hot milk, curdled with liquor and other ingredients, often spices. It also had a meringue-like froth on the top. It was used as a remedy for colds or other minor maladies. Often the patient was lying in bed and the mixture was partially spooned out and partially sucked from the spout. The word posset became a verb which had the meaning of pampering someone or making them comfortable.

These pots were common wedding gifts and became family heirlooms. This particular pot is the size of a large teapot and the blue and white decoration imitates Chinese porcelain and shows the popularity of Eastern design at the time.

UPDATE in response to comments from here . Also I took the wording directly from the card with the object:

English delftware is tin-glazed pottery made in the British Isles between about 1550 and the late 1700s. The main centres of production were London, Bristol and Liverpool with smaller centres at Wincanton, Glasgow and Dublin.

English tin-glazed pottery was called "galleyware" and its makers "gallypotters" until the early 18th century; it was given the name delftware after the popular tin-glazed pottery from the Netherlands


Dreaming again said...

I am a lover of Blue Willow, but any blue and white china will suffice!
Absolutely georgeous!!

Thank you for sharing!!!

Casdok said...

Posset, what a lovely word.

Sean Jeating said...

Beautiful piece of craftsmanship. -

As for 'English Delftware': Would an English potter crafting a posset around 1660 have already then called it 'Delft(!)-ware'?
Tried to check this, myself, but didn't find an answer, yet.

Eurodog said...

I agree with Sean. The Royal Delft company was set up around 1660. So would the Dutch craftsmanship have been exported so soon after the company having been set up. England and The Netherlands had close ties and trade between the two countries thrived so it is highly likely that anything fashionable in Holland would find its way to England.
Beautiful, I think.
Did not know the word "posset". What is the word in French, I wonder?

Carver said...

I've heard posset used as a verb by my parents but I didn't know it was a drink. The posset pot is lovely. I have a weakness for blue and white china and that's a beautiful example.

GeraniumCat said...

Lovely picture! Dredging among my memories of my parents' antique shop, I don't think English tin-glazed ware was described as "English Delftware" until much later, when it was referred to like that because it resembled Delftware. I just checked this with Wikipedia, which says that it was called "galleyware" before it was called Delftware.

Sean Jeating said...

:) Geranium Cat, just googling 'English Delftware' obviously would have been 'too easy' for this master of research.
Thanks for widening my horizon. :)

Gledwood said...

Can you really get "English" Delftware? I've been to Delft in the Netherlands... (man! you gotta see the souvenir shop!!!!)... or do you mean "in the style of"

hang on why am I blithering on like this I'm hardly the ceramixx expert

(though I do know who Claris Cliff is ~~ from watching Antiques Hunt every morning!!)

ps I posted up a pic just like your avatarial incarnation... looks just like my tiniest baby Itchy Roborovski!!

Gledwood said...

duh! i just read the rest of your comments... so to put it more succinctly "I concurr with Sean"!

lady macleod said...

Oh I quite like that.

I know I am waaaaaaaaay overdue to email you, but I've been in hospital and I'm short on energy. I appreciate that data you sent, and I will send a chatty note soon.

jmb said...

Before more people take me to task over the use of the seemingly contradictory term English Delftware, I took those words straight off the card on the object at the Museum.
I have also updated the post with some information regarding English Delftware.

Ellee Seymour said...

You would just love the Cambridge Museum of Anthapology, we have every museum you could wish for, and lots of English Delfware.

jmb said...

PK,it is lovely isn't it?
Casdok posset, I don't what it makes me think of but something.
Sean, now everyone has the answer.
Eurodog, see the update
Carver, I'm surprised the word was still used in your family and in the US.
Geranium cat, thanks for the info, I updated the post to reflect this.
Gleds,yes English delftware exists and it is in the style of I guess.Love your new avatar.
Lady Mac, I hope you are well now. I'll be in touch soon.
Ellee, I'm sure I would like the Cambridge Museum of Anthropology, I love every museum I've ever visited.

Thanks to you all for visiting and commenting. We all learned a lot from each other.

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

How you educate us, jmb! Can't wait for more on this!