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Owl jug: C.497 & A-1928

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Object information

Current Location: Gallery 27 (Glaisher)


Factory: Unidentified Staffordshire factory




White salt-glazed stoneware, the body and head thrown separately, and decorated with applied notched clay feathers, and details in brown slip. A strap handle is attached to the back of the body. The detachable head serves as a cup.


History note: George Stoner Collection, Cotleigh, West Wickham, Kent; purchased from George Stoner of Stoner & Evans, in London, on 24 November 1915 (with a slipware owl C.252 & A-1928 for £280)

Legal notes

Dr J.W.L. Glaisher Bequest

Measurements and weight

Height: 21.7 cm

Acquisition and important dates

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


18th Century, Mid
George II
Circa 1735 CE - Circa 1755 CE


Brown salt-glazed stoneware owl jugs were made in Cologne in the mid sixteenth century, but despite the vast quantities of stoneware bottles to be imported from the Rhineland, only one owl jug is known to have been imported and to have survived in an English collection. It has silver mounts round its neck and foot, and was given to the Worshipful Company of Armourers and Braziers in 1537 by the widow of William Vinyard, alias Seger, and still belongs to the Company. Another owl jug, excavated in Cologne on the site of the Maximinenstrasse worshop is in the Kunstgewerbemuseum in Cologne. Although there is no proven link ,it is not impossible that one of these early owl jugs might have inspired the Staffordshire versions. Owl jugs were also made in tin-glazed earthenware with painted decoration in Austria and the Tryol, where they are said to have been made as prizes for archery competitions.

School or Style


People, subjects and objects depicted

Components of the work

Decoration composed of slip ( dark brown)
Surface composed of salt-glaze
Both Parts

Materials used in production

white Stoneware

Techniques used in production


References and bibliographic entries

Identification numbers

Accession number: C.497 & A-1928
Primary reference Number: 75299
Old object number: 3737
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

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The Fitzwilliam Museum (2024) "Owl jug" Web page available at: Accessed: 2024-04-24 11:53:17

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