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Small Wear Bridge Jug: C.1087-1928

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Object information

Current Location: In storage


Small Wear Bridge Jug


Production: Unidentified factory




White earthenware, transfer-printed in black with text and image, glazed and hand painted with enamels and pink lustre.

Small jug, with bulbous body tapering slightly to a projecting foot, with cylindrical neck, curved lip and loop handle. Decorated on the body, under the lip, with a transfer-print over-painted with pink lustre and yellow and green enamels showing a view of the Wear Bridge, with a potter’s kiln on the right-hand bank, and the inscription : ‘A WEST VIEW of the CAST IRON BRIDGE OVER THE RIVER WEAR built by R. BURDON ESQr / Span 236 Feet He […] t 100 Feet Begun […] Find 9 Aug. 1796.’ . The rim and the sides of the lip are coated with a broad band of pink lustre, there are ovals of pink lustre around the image and on the back of the body and a lustre line runs down the handle. The underside is flat and glazed, with a raised foot-rim.


History note: Bought from Mr Reed at Saffron Walden on 25 November 1908, for 4 shillings, by Dr Glaisher, Trinity College, Cambridge.

Legal notes

Dr. J.W.L. Glaisher Bequest, 1928

Measurements and weight

Height: 9 cm
Width: 11 cm

Place(s) associated

  • Sunderland ⪼ County Durham ⪼ England

Acquisition and important dates

Method of acquisition: Bequeathed (1928) by Glaisher, J. W. L., Dr


19th Century, Early#
Circa 1820 CE - Circa 1855 CE


Dr Glaisher bought the jug, in 1908, because he felt the prominence of a kiln in the view ‘affords some presumption that this was the pottery at which the jug was made’. Whilst there is no further evidence for this, and many local potteries used the same image, the kiln does help to date the jug since it only appears in transfers used after c.1820. The bridge was rebuilt in 1858-59.

Sunderland potteries were particularly known for their use of thinly applied lustre and hand-painted transfer-prints. The designs usually have local or topical relevance and here feature shipping and river transport, along with a west view of the Wear Bridge, a major Sunderland landmark first opened in August 1796. The bridge was built and sponsored by Rowland Burden, MP for County Durham. Images of it were extremely popular – at least 45 different transfers are known – and were also used occasionally by other potteries in the North East.

Components of the work

Decoration composed of lustre ( pink) enamels ( yellow, green) clear glaze

Materials used in production


Techniques used in production

Throwing : Thrown earthenware, transfer-printed, glazed and hand painted.

Inscription or legends present

Inscription present: (partly illegible)

  • Text: No. 2914 Small Sunderland jug with view of the iron bridge over the Wear […] 1908
  • Location: Interior, on base
  • Method of creation: Rectangular paper label, handwritten in black script
  • Type: Label

References and bibliographic entries

Identification numbers

Accession number: C.1087-1928
Primary reference Number: 71292
Old object number: 2914
Stable URI

Audit data

Created: Saturday 6 August 2011 Updated: Monday 18 December 2023 Last processed: Monday 18 December 2023

Associated departments & institutions

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

Citation for print

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The Fitzwilliam Museum (2024) "Small Wear Bridge Jug" Web page available at: Accessed: 2024-07-15 08:33:01

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{{cite web|url= |title=Small Wear Bridge Jug |author=The Fitzwilliam Museum|accessdate=2024-07-15 08:33:01|publisher=The University of Cambridge}}

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