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The Return of the Spies: C.2988-1928

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Object information

Current Location: In storage


The Return of the Spies


Production: Unidentified South German pottery (Possibly)
Pottery: Unidentified Steckborn pottery (Possibly)




Tin-glazed earthenware painted in blue, green, yellow, and manganese-purple. Cylindrical with a loop handle. The front is painted with 'The Return of the Spies', carrying an enormous bunch of grapes between them on a pole. Pewter mounts to the rim and base, and cover with a thumbpiece, hinged to a mount on the handle. In the middle of the top of the cover there is a lion with military trophies with below IM SEPTEMBER 1838. Below i are the incised initials 'S W'.


History note: Mr E. Dreyfus, 2 rue de la Cité, Geneva, from whom purchased on 18 September 1907 for 35 francs by Dr J.W.L. Glaisher, FRS, Trinity College, Cambridge

Legal notes

Dr J. W. L. Glaisher Bequest

Measurements and weight

Height: 19.7 cm
Height: 22.8 cm

Place(s) associated

  • Steckborn ⪼ Southern Germany ⪼ Germany

Acquisition and important dates

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


18th century
Circa 1700 CE - 1800 CE Dated 1838 CE -


When purchased, the vendor attributed it unhesitatingly to Steckborn in the Canton of Thurgau in Switzerland, but it could have come from Southern Germany

Components of the work

Decoration composed of high-temperature colours ( blue, greeen, yellow, and manganese-purple)
Cover composed of pewter
Base Diameter 19.7 cm

Materials used in production


Inscription or legends present

  • Text: IM SEPTEMBER 1838
  • Location: On top of cover
  • Method of creation: Moulded integrally with the medallion
  • Type: Inscription

Inscription present: script letters

  • Text: W S
  • Location: On top of cover below medallion
  • Method of creation: Incised
  • Type: Initials

References and bibliographic entries

Identification numbers

Accession number: C.2988-1928
Primary reference Number: 74270
Stable URI

Audit data

Created: Saturday 6 August 2011 Updated: Tuesday 17 December 2019 Last processed: Wednesday 11 January 2023

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 (2023) "The Return of the Spies" Web page available at: Accessed: 2023-01-29 07:30:42

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{{cite web|url= |title=The Return of the Spies |author=The Fitzwilliam Museum|accessdate=2023-01-29 07:30:42|publisher=The University of Cambridge}}

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