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‘Pastry turkey’ tureen: C.29 & A-2013

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Object information

Current Location: In storage


‘Pastry turkey’ tureen


Pottery: John and William Turner




Cream stoneware, moulded, modelled and decorated with applied reliefs.

Cream stoneware, moulded, modelled and decorated with applied reliefs. The tureen is moulded in the shape of a trussed and roasted fowl or game bird, breast upwards, with upturned feet and head tucked under one wing and egg-shaped cover fitting into breast. There is a relief moulded parsley garnish around the junction of the cover and body; three moulded bay leaves which form a handle for the cover. Faint reddish-brown staining suggests roasting on parts of the upper surface. The interior is glazed. The underside is very slightly concave, with a narrow foot-rim.


History note: Professor Sir Albert Richardson, P.R.A., Avenue House, Ampthill, Bedfordshire; inherited by Simon R Houfe 1984; sold Christie's, 18-19 September 2013, The Collection of Professor Sir Albert Richardson, P.R.A., Removed from Avenue House, Ampthill, Bedfordshire, lot 486.

Legal notes

Purchased with gifts from Cambridge Antiques Society and the Friends of the Fitzwilliam Museum

Measurements and weight

Height: 15.5 cm
Length: 33.6 cm
Width: 20 cm

Place(s) associated

  • Longton ⪼ Staffordshire ⪼ England

Acquisition and important dates

Method of acquisition: Bought (2013-10-14) by Christie's


18th Century, Late
George III
Production date: circa AD 1800 : [not dated, but social circumstances at this time indicate c.1800 the most likely date; other examples dated c.1780-c.1820]


Flour was in short supply in the early years of the 19th Century. The Royal Household forbade the use of flour for pastry; the Staffordshire Advertiser of 3 May 1800 records rioters seizing potatoes and flour at Lane End; and potters such as Turner and Wedgwood responded by making dishes to represent pie crust. This trussed chicken, turkey or pheasant roast was probably made at around that time, to hold the contents of a poultry or game pie. Several examples survive and, according to legend, the Turners ‘made a nine-days wonder for the countryside’ when they exhibited a series of ‘country roasts’, including beef, mutton, goose and turkey, at a local inn. (see Hillier, 19).

In 1792, William and John Turner took over the pottery business started by their father, as Turner & Banks in the 1760s. From 1803 they continued the family business as Turner(s), Glover & Simpson until bankrupcy in 1806, and thereafter with various smaller potworks until 1829. They experimented widely and became one of the largest manufacturers of dry-bodied stoneware, making jasper, white stoneware and caneware and specialising in a range of lidded pie dishes which mimic pastry in the shape of pies or animals.

Label text from the exhibition ‘Feast and Fast: The Art of Food in Europe, 1500–1800’, on display at The Fitzwilliam Museum from 26 November 2019 until 31 August 2020: In the late 1790s flour was in short supply and the Royal Household forbade its use for pastry. Potters such as Turner and Wedgwood responded by making stoneware dishes to mimic pie crust, and hence why it was known as ‘pastry ware’. This tureen was made to hold the contents of a poultry or game pie, despite being shaped as a trussed and roasted capon. Its wings and thighs show the holes left when the skewers were removed prior to carving, and its reddish-brown colour suggests roasting.

There is a similarly moulded, marked, tureen in the V & A collection (C. 2512&A-1901). Liverpool Museums hold an unmarked version with some enamel decoration (green herbs, brown beak, eyes and claws) and also a marked Turner tureen in the shape of a suckling pig (M1598, M759).

This tureen was previously owned by the architect Sir Albert Richardson, elected President of the Royal Academy 1954; it was much admired by Queen Mary during a royal visit to his Bedforshire home in 1934.

Components of the work


Materials used in production


Techniques used in production


Inscription or legends present

  • Text: TURNER
  • Location: On base
  • Method of creation: Impressed, small
  • Type: Factory mark

References and bibliographic entries

Related exhibitions

Identification numbers

Accession number: C.29 & A-2013
Primary reference Number: 197430
Stable URI

Audit data

Created: Tuesday 29 October 2013 Updated: Friday 15 December 2023 Last processed: Friday 15 December 2023

Associated departments & institutions

Owner or interested party: The Fitzwilliam Museum
Associated department: Applied Arts

Citation for print

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