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William IV & Queen Adelaide mug: C.55-1997

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Object information

Current Location: In storage


William IV & Queen Adelaide mug


Factory: Chetham & Robinson (Probably)
Factory: Chesworth & Robinson
Engraver: Kennedy, James (Probably)




Thin white earthenware with a slightly blue-tinted glaze, transfer-printed on-glaze in black with text and images, and painted with pink lustre.

Mug. Wide, straight-sided cylinder with a 'rope' edging round the rim and base, and an applied angular handle. Decorated with three transfer images, each with text, on the outside; two floral sprays on the inside; and a stylized floral pattern on the outside of the handle. Around the transfer decoration is a thin wash of pale pink lustre, covering the outside and on the upper part of the inside. Round the rim and base is a thicker band of pink lustre. There are three spur marks on the interior of the base. The underside is flat and glazed, and slightly recessed to form a foot-rim.

The images and text are as follows:
(i) to the left of the handle: a bust of William IV (signed 'Kennedy'), flanked by a spray of shamrock and a spray of thistles, each with a rose, and inscribed below 'KING WILLIAM the Sep.r 1831'.
(ii) to the right of the handle: a three-quarters, frontal image of Queen Adelaide (signed 'Kennedy'), flanked by similar floral sprays, and inscribed below 'QUEEN ADELAIDE./Crowned Sep.r 1831.'.
(iii) on the front: a Royal crown imposed on a sunburst and inscribed, below, 'LONG LIVE THE/KING', and above, 'REFORM'.


History note: G.H.W. Rylands, Ltt D., CBE, CH., King's College, Cambridge

Legal notes

Given by G.H.W. Rylands in memory of his mother, Betha Wolferstan Rylands.

Measurements and weight

Height: 11.6 cm
Width: 17.0 cm

Place(s) associated

  • Longton ⪼ Staffordshire ⪼ England
  • Burslem ⪼ Staffordshire ⪼ England

Acquisition and important dates

Method of acquisition: Given (1997-07-14) by Rylands, G.H.W.


William IV
Circa 1831 CE - 1832 CE


Small salt-glazed stoneware flasks made in the shape of leading Reform Act figures, known as 'Reform bottles', were also produced at this time. Doulton & Watts at Lambeth produced thousands between 1820 to c.1856.

The 1832 Representation of the People Act, commonly known as the 1832 Reform Act, was passed just a few months after the Coronation of King William IV. The Act extended voting rights to some two million of the urban middle classes and abolished rotten boroughs. It was proposed for the Whigs by the Prime Minister, Charles Grey (2nd Earl Grey, 1764-1845). Henry Brougham (Baron Brougham and Vaux, 1778-1868), as Lord Chancellor, led in the House of Lords. Images of all three are found on ‘Reform’ commemorative ware.

This is one of three similar pink lustre mugs in the Fitzwilliam Collection. They have the same shape, similar decoration including the inscription ‘REFORM’, and the same mark, which is probably that of Chetham & Robinson, although a ‘C&R’mark was also used by a neighbouring pottery, Chesworth & Robinson. Staffordshire potters were the first, and remained the largest , producers of lustreware, though it was also made in other regions, and is often associated with Sunderland. The engraved images on all three mugs are by ‘Kennedy’, probably James Kennedy of Burslem who made engravings and copper plates for factories as far afield as the Herculaneum Pottery in Liverpool. An engraved print held by the Stoke-on-Trent Museum indicates that the image may be based on a bust of King William IV sculpted by J. Rogers.

People, subjects and objects depicted

Components of the work

Decoration composed of ceramic printing colour ( greyish-black) lustre ( pink)

Materials used in production


Techniques used in production

Lead-glazing : White earthenware with slightly blue-tinted lead glaze, bat-printed onglaze in greyish-black, and lustred pink, with stronger pink lustre banding.

Inscription or legends present

Inscription present: C & R, in flamboyant script, in octofoil

  • Text: C & R
  • Location: Underside of base
  • Method of creation: Printed
  • Type: Mark
  • Text: Kennedy
  • Location: Under the images of King and Queen, bottom right,
  • Method of creation: Printed as part of the engraving
  • Type: Mark

Inscription present: both 'th', and 'r' of 'Sep.r' are raised above the '.'

  • Text: KING WILLIAM the Sep.r 1831
  • Location: On one side
  • Method of creation: Printed
  • Type: Inscription

Inscription present: both 'th', and 'r' of 'Sep.r' are raised above the '.'

  • Text: QUEEN ADELAIDE./Crowned Sep.r 1831
  • Location: On one side
  • Method of creation: Printed
  • Type: Inscription
  • Location: On the front
  • Method of creation: Printed
  • Type: Inscription
  • Text: ‘4950’ above ‘M/A/-'
  • Location: Underside of base
  • Method of creation: Square paper label handwritten in black ink
  • Type: Label

References and bibliographic entries

Identification numbers

Accession number: C.55-1997
Primary reference Number: 75504
Stable URI

Audit data

Created: Saturday 6 August 2011 Updated: Wednesday 15 July 2020 Last processed: Monday 18 December 2023

Associated departments & institutions

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

Citation for print

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The Fitzwilliam Museum (2024) "William IV & Queen Adelaide mug" Web page available at: Accessed: 2024-06-15 15:06:29

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