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Mug: C.739-1928

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Object information

Current Location: In storage


Production: unidentified English pottery




Lead-glazed creamware decorated with a transfer print of a woman and two children, which has been coloured in enamels.

Cream-coloured earthenware, lead-glazed, transfer printed onglaze in black and painted onglaze with coloured enamels. The cylindrical mug has a loop handle. Opposite the handle is a print of a woman holding a fan and wearing a hat decorated with a feather. She sits in a chair with a small child on either side. The group sit under a tree and bushes and flowers surround them. The central woman’s dress is coloured purple and her hat blue. One of the children wears an orange dress and the other a blue one. The plants are painted in orange, green, pale blue and red-brown. There is a red-brown ring around the rim of the mug.


History note: Provenance unidentified before bought in Saffron Walden by Mr Freeman, Cambridge; Mr Freeman sold for 10/- in March 1905 to Dr J.W.L. Glaisher, FRS, Trinity College, Cambridge

Legal notes

Dr J.W.L. Glaisher Bequest.

Measurements and weight

Height: 12.3 cm
Width: 11.7 cm

Acquisition and important dates

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


18th Century, Late
George III
Circa 1775 CE - Circa 1790 CE


Transfer printing was introduced to English pottery in the second half of the 18th century. Most early transfer-printed ware used the glue bat method. In this method, the design was engraved on a copper plate, which was then covered with linseed oil. The thin bat of animal glue was pressed onto the oiled plate and then applied to the ware. Once the bat was removed, the ware was dusted with powdered metallic oxide, which adhered to the oil, and fired to fix the design. This method was common for round-bodied vessels like this mug because the flexible glue bat can easily stretch round curving body. Objects, like this mug, that were printed and then painted in enamels were more expensive to consumers they plain printed wares, reflecting the cost of the extra firing necessary to bond the enamels onto the surface.

School or Style


Components of the work


Materials used in production

clear Lead-glaze
cream coloured Earthenware

Techniques used in production

Painting overglaze
Transfer printing

Inscription or legends present

Inscription present: rectangle of brown card

  • Text: “Mug, printed in black and painted over in enamel colours. Staffordshire, about 1790. 739. Glaisher Bequest 1928.”
  • Location: Loose inside the mug
  • Method of creation: Handwritten in black ink
  • Type: Label

References and bibliographic entries

Identification numbers

Accession number: C.739-1928
Primary reference Number: 75954
Old catalogue number: 2250
Stable URI

Audit data

Created: Saturday 6 August 2011 Updated: Wednesday 15 July 2020 Last processed: Wednesday 13 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) "Mug" Web page available at: Accessed: 2024-05-30 11:05:43

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