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Bear jug: C.499 & A-1928

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Object information


Unidentified Staffordshire Pottery (Pottery)


White salt-glazed stoneware container in the form of a bear with furof applied shreds of clay, and details applied in brown slip

White stoneware, thrown in two parts with applied ears, muzzle, and limbs, covered with coarse shreds of clay to imitate fur, decorated with dark brown slip details, and salt-glazed. The bear is sitting upright holding a functional coiling whistle in its forepaws. It has a tubby body and a separate head which serves as a cup. In its snout it has a salt-glazed stoneware ring attached by a piece of metal wire. Brown slip has beeen applied in short stripes on the paws, and muzzle, and in spots on the whistle, round the lower part of the head, and on the ears. The eyes are formed by two circles of white clay with a brown slip spot in the centre and two short brown lines above.


History note: Puttick & Simpson, London, 24 June 1921, lot 59; sold to Mack for £4.4s. bidding on behalf of Dr J.W.L. Glaisher, FRS, Trinity College, Cambridge, who fetched it to Cambridge on 6 July

Legal notes

Dr J.W.L. Glaisher Bequest

Measurements and weight

Depth: 12.1 cm
Height: 17.2 cm

Acquisition and important dates

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


Mid 18th Century
George II
Circa 1740 CE - 1770 1770 CE


This bear jug is unusual because it holds a functional whistle, see Documentation for another. It is assumed that bears like this were for alcoholic liquor and that their heads served as cups. No contemporary illustrations of them in use have been found. Nor are dated examples known, but it seems likely that they were made between about 1740 and 1770, when white salt-glazed stoneware was most popular.

Components of the work

Decoration: composed of slip ( brown) Surface: composed of salt-glaze Body: Width 9.3 cm
Body And Head: Body Parts: Fur:

Materials used in production

off white Stoneware

Inscription or legends present

Inscription present: square white paper stick-on label with black edge,; end of description is illegible except for date

  • Text: No 3874/small white stone/glaze bear holding/a curved whistle/in its paws/ bought /1924
  • Location: On base
  • Method of creation: Hand-written in faded ink
  • Label

References and bibliographic entries

Identification numbers

Accession number: C.499 & A-1928
Primary reference Number: 75302
Old object number: 3874
Stable URI

Audit data

Created: Saturday 6 August 2011 Updated: Tuesday 26 October 2021 Last processed: Thursday 20 January 2022

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 (2020) "Bear jug" Web page available at: Accessed: 2022-01-21 05:05:23

Citation for Wikipedia

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{{cite web|url=|title=Bear jug|author=The Fitzwilliam Museum|accessdate=2022-01-21 05:05:23|publisher=The University of Cambridge}}

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