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[AC] Mead Art Museum at Amherst College; [HC] Hampshire College Art Gallery;
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Title:fuddling cup
Date Made:1700-1725
Type:Food Service
Materials:ceramic: lead-glazed earthenware
Place Made:United Kingdom; England; Staffordshire or Derbyshire or London (possibly)
Measurements:overall: 3 in x 5 in x 2 in (each cup); 7.62 cm x 12.7 cm x 5.08 cm
Accession Number:  HD 63.114

English earthenware fuddling cup with three containers covered with a brown lead glaze. The Oxford English Dictionary defines "fuddle", a word in use by the late 16th century, as "to confuse with, or as with, drink." Although there is no evidence that the 'fuddling cup' was used in the 17th century, the term has long been used to describe small cups or vase-like containers, usually three or four, joined to each other with intertwined handles and internal openings. The modest size of the containers was probably meant to deceive drinkers, assuming they were unaware of the internal connections between the pots. Dated delftware examples are known between 1633 and 1649; the popularity of fuddling cups continued into the 18th century. The inscriptions on tin- and lead-glazed examples indicate that they were used for alcoholic drinks, for example, "DRYNCK ALL BOYSE", with a word on each container so that the words can be read in three ways. Each of the three individually-thrown cups have a round, bulbous body, cylindrical neck, and spreading foot. The cups are joined with rope-like strips that meet at the point between the neck and body and are connected at mid-body by hollow pipes so that the liquid can pass through.

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