Skip to main content

Pilgrim bottle: C.1850-1928

An image of Pilgrim bottle

Terms of use

These images are provided for non-commercial use under a Creative Commons License (BY-NC-ND). To license a high resolution version, please contact our image library who will discuss fees, terms and waivers.

Download this image

Creative commons explained - what it means, how you can use our's and other people's content.

Alternative views

Object information

Current Location: Gallery 27 (Glaisher)


Pottery: Unidentified Tuscan pottery




Pale brownish-red earthenware, coated with brownish-red slip, marbled in white slip, apart from a short distance above the foot, and spattered on one side in green under clear lead glaze. Oviform body with outward curving foot, slender tapering neck with a flanged mouth, and on either side of the body two loops for straps, each moulded in the form of a lion's mask


History note: Dug up in the dunes at Hillegom, South Holland, in 1808. Sotheby's, 3 March 1898, lot 622; bought for £4.14.0 on behalf of Dr J.W. L. Glaisher, FRS, Trinity College, Cambridge

Legal notes

Dr J.W.L. Glaisher Bequest

Measurements and weight

Height: 33 cm
Width: 20.5 cm

Place(s) associated

  • Lower Arno Valley ⪼ Tuscany ⪼ Italy

Acquisition and important dates

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


16th Century
Circa 1600 CE - 1650 CE


In the nineteenth century when Dr J.W.L. Glaisher bought this example, marbled pilgrim flasks or costrels were thought to be of English origin. The find place of this one, which was dug up in the dunes at Hillegom, near Leiden in the Netherlands in 1808, raised doubts about that attribution. They are now known to have come from the Lower Arno Valley area of Tuscany, possibly from Pisa, Pontorme, or Montelupo. Archaeological evidence for slipware production, including kiln-wasters of marbled flasks, has been found in the village of Pontorme situated between Empoli and Montelupo, but it is not possible to attribute this example to a specific production place. Slipware and maiolica from Tuscany was shipped to the Netherlands and England from Pisa during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. This is an exceptionally large and fine example, in excellent condition. A flask of the same type, but rather more bulbous, appears in paintings executed in the mid seventeenth century by the Dutch artist, Gerrit Dou (1613-75), indicating that they were made before 1650. (See Documentation, Timothy Wilosn's article in ed. Siena, Silvia Lusuardi, 2023), The Fitzwilliam has another smaller flask, GL.C.28-1928 which was found in London. Further examples of marbled slipware flasks are in the British Museum, and the Ashmolean Museum (see Documentation).

School or Style


Components of the work

Decoration composed of slip ( pale brownish-red and cream) copper ( probably, spattering of green spots)
Most Of Visible composed of lead-glaze
Foot Diameter 12 cm
Most Of Surface

Materials used in production

pale brownish-red Earthenware

Inscription or legends present

  • Text: Te Hillegorm by het afzanden der duinen/ qwonden. Anno, 1808
  • Location: Unknown
  • Method of creation: Hand -written
  • Type: Label

References and bibliographic entries

Identification numbers

Accession number: C.1850-1928
Primary reference Number: 72753
Old object number: 812
Stable URI

Audit data

Created: Saturday 6 August 2011 Updated: Tuesday 13 February 2024 Last processed: Tuesday 13 February 2024

Associated departments & institutions

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

Citation for print

This record can be cited in the Harvard Bibliographic style using the text below:

The Fitzwilliam Museum (2024) "Pilgrim bottle" Web page available at: Accessed: 2024-07-16 13:29:14

Citation for Wikipedia

To cite this record on Wikipedia you can use this code snippet:

{{cite web|url= |title=Pilgrim bottle |author=The Fitzwilliam Museum|accessdate=2024-07-16 13:29:14|publisher=The University of Cambridge}}

API call for this record

To call these data via our API (remember this needs to be authenticated) you can use this code snippet:

Bootstrap HTML code for reuse

To use this as a simple code embed, copy this string:

<div class="text-center">
    <figure class="figure">
        <img src=""
        alt="Pilgrim bottle"
        class="img-fluid" />
        <figcaption class="figure-caption text-info">Pilgrim bottle</figcaption>

Sign up for updates

Updates about future exhibitions and displays, family activities, virtual events & news. You'll be the first to know...