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W. Pay Beer Jug: C.1165-1928

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Object information

Current Location: In storage


W. Pay Beer Jug


Unidentified factory (Probably)




Thrown earthenware, glazed, painted in enamels with text and images and decorated with pink-lustre.

White lead-glazed earthenware jug with ovoid body tapering slightly to a projecting foot, cylindrical neck, curved lip and loop handle. Decorated on the body with three large and roughly round areas of text and image, each on a clear glaze ground. Otherwise the exterior of the jug and handle, and the interior of the neck is covered with purple lustre which has been smeared in a random pattern or, in two places, mottled. The underside is flat and glazed, with a raised foot-rim.

The text and images are as follows:
(i) under the lip: `W. Pay./1838' in large black letters, below an image of a goat, enclosed by a wreath of stylised green and black leaves, tied at top and bottom with a red-brown bow.
(ii) to left of handle: a three-masted paddle-steamer flying the red ensign and two other red flags, with rigging and smoke, on a grey/brown sea, with a rock face to the right and a blue and yellow sky.
(iii) to right of handle: `The Brewer has sent his Clerk,\And I must pay my score;\And if I trust my Beer,\What shall I do for more’ above a tankard inscribed `W.P.' set over two long-handled clay pipes, with a plate of food below. All these in black and enclosed by a wreath of stylised green and black leaves, tied at top and bottom with a red-brown bow.


History note: Randolph Berens Collection. Christie’s sale of Berens Collection on December 13, 1910, lot 93. Bought by Mr S. Fenton for £7.17s 6d for Dr J.W.G. Glaisher, FRS, Trinity College, Cambridge.

Legal notes

Dr J.W.L. Glaisher Bequest

Measurements and weight

Height: 38.3 cm
Width: 41 cm

Place(s) associated

  • Newcastle-upon-Tyne ⪼ Tyne and Wear ⪼ England

Acquisition and important dates

Method of acquisition: Bequeathed (1928-12-07) by Glaisher, J. W. L., Dr


19th Century, second quarter#
William IV
Production date: AD 1838 : dated


Dr Glaisher bought this jug at Christie’s, in 1910, ‘as being the largest and finest representative of its class that I have seen, and also for the careful representation of the early steam boat’. He speculated that ‘ Mr W. Pay for whom the jug was made was no doubt an innkeeper and perhaps the sign of the inn was the Goat’. The verse, which is found on other mugs and jugs from the region and is sometimes titled ‘The Landlord’s Caution’, tends to support this view and also indicates the jug’s intended use. The ocean-going paddle-steamer is indicative of Newcastle’s importance as a centre for shipbuilding, coal exports and trade.

Sunderland and Tyneside potteries were particularly known for their use of thinly hand-painted lustre together with images, verses and mottos, on domestic and commemorative wares produced from around 1820 to 1840. The two regions and their various potteries often used the same designs and verses, which were transfer-printed then hand-painted with enamels or sometimes, as here, painted freehand. This jug displays features typical of jugs and mugs made in Newcastle-upon-Tyne potteries during the 1830s, which include: dark pink/purple lustre; strong enamel colours, notably yellow, green and red/brown; and borders of stylised green leaves. Smeared lustre also indicates Tyneside origin; the Sunderland potteries preferring the mottled finish, which was produced using oil or turpentine spirit.

People, subjects and objects depicted

Components of the work

Decoration composed of enamel ( green, yellow, red, brown, black) lustre ( pink/purple)

Materials used in production


Techniques used in production


Inscription or legends present

  • Text: The Brewer has sent his Clerk,\And I must pay my score;\And if I trust my Beer,\What shall I do for more
  • Location: To right of handle
  • Method of creation: Painted in black
  • Type: Inscription

Inscription present: within a wreath below a goat

  • Text: W. Pay./ 1838
  • Location: On front
  • Method of creation: Painted in black
  • Type: Inscription

Inscription present: inscribed on image of tankard

  • Text: 'W.P'
  • Type: Inscription
  • Text: ‘No.3324. Very large jug of Sunderland Potterty inscribed W. Pay 1838 and with verses and the picture of a steam boat. Bought at Christie’s Dec 13 1910'
  • Location: Underside of base
  • Method of creation: Rectangular paper label handpainted in black ink
  • Type: Label

References and bibliographic entries

Related exhibitions

Identification numbers

Accession number: C.1165-1928
Primary reference Number: 71443
Old object number: 3324
Stable URI

Audit data

Created: Saturday 6 August 2011 Updated: Wednesday 15 July 2020 Last processed: Friday 8 December 2023

Associated departments & institutions

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

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The Fitzwilliam Museum (2024) "W. Pay Beer Jug" Web page available at: Accessed: 2024-05-24 06:12:03

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