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Maker(s):Barker, Thomas (attributed)
Culture:English
Title:punch pot
Date Made:ca. 1765
Type:Food Service
Materials:ceramic: unglazed red stoneware
Place Made:United Kingdom; England; Staffordshire; Stoke-on-Trent (probably)
Measurements:overall: 7 3/4 in x 12 7/8 in x 7 1/2 in; 19.685 cm x 32.7025 cm x 19.05 cm
Accession Number:  HD 2007.1
Credit Line:Museum Collections Fund
Museum Collection:  Historic Deerfield
2007-1_V1t.jpg

Description:
Punch pots were an invention of the mid-18th century, which followed exactly the form of contemporary Staffordshire teapots. Unlike punch bowls, included in pictures of riotous parties and their attendant paraphernalia, no contemporary illustrations exist of punch pots in use.The main ingredients of punch are spirits, sugar, nutmeg, spices and water. It can be assumed that punch pots were invented as a more refined means of dealing with this hot alcoholic beverage. Yixing red stoneware teapots were favored by the Chinese for their ability to withstand the flame of a spirit-lamp, and so was the English stoneware punch pot which was ideal for making punch and keeping it hot. The same characteristics were shared with Staffordshire red stoneware, which in turn could be changed from a utilitarian object to a luxury product by the addition of mold applied decoration. English unglazed red stoneware, globular-shaped punch pot or punch kettle or hot-water kettle with a circular inset lid with a pierced ball finial and ornamented with mold-applied relief decoration of floral sprays; crabstock handle and shaped spout; mold-applied decoration around the sides including chinoiserie flowering plants around the upper half of the body, and a small figure of an Asian man carrying a bird in a hoop at the end of a pole on one side and a woman carrying a parasol on the other side flanking the spout; and an impressed pseudo-Chinese seal mark on the center underside of the base. This is the same pseudo-Chinese mark found on a red stoneware coffeepot and a jug from the Weldon collection illustrated in works by Leslie Grigsby, and Peter Williams and Pat Halfpenny, and Robin Price. David Barker and Pat Halfpenny also document this pseudo-Chinese mark and relief decoration of the oriental man with bird and woman with parasol on a several pieces in the City Museum and Art Gallery, Stoke-on-Trent collection, including a coffeepot and teapot which they attribute to Thomas Barker, The Foley Pottery, Fenton, Stoke-on-Trent. David Barker also illustrates a number of similarly-decorated pieces in a number of collections and describes the Barker pottery in his article on Staffordshire Red Stonewares in the 1991 "English Ceramic Circle Transactions." According to tradition, red stoneware is valued for its ability to produce a fragrant pot of tea; and these ceramics could be finely polished producing a smooth surface that contrasted with the crisply applied decoration. When Western merchants first imported Chinese Yixing stoneware in the 17th century, the popularity of unglazed red stoneware began; red stoneware imitations of Chinese Yixing wares were created in Holland, Germany, and England. In the 1760s and 1770s the English vogue for red stoneware ceramics was renewed. This type of pottery, often called red china, was imported into the Connecticut River Valley. In 1773, Samuel Boardman of Wethersfield, Connecticut, purchased ½ dozen “Red China” teapots. . Contemporay hot punch included a blend of spirits and milk or water, flavored with oranges, lemons, sugar and spices. From the Fitzwilliam Museum Cambridge England: Many potters produced dry-bodied (unglazed) red stonewares in the mid-18th century. The wares, almost always related to the drinking of tea or coffee, imitated imported Yixing red stoneware from China. Prints and illustrated books like ‘The Ladies Amusement’ helped spread and popularize Chinoiserie imagery inspired by Asian culture. David Barker (1991) has attributed some of these red stonewares to Thomas Barker, a potter operating in Fenton's Foley area (now part of Stoke-on-Trent) in the 1760s and 1770s. Excavations at the old Barker workshop, King Street in Fenton, discovered a deposit of sherds dating from c.1770, which included red stoneware. A red stoneware punch pot illustrared in Stella Beddoes, A Potted History, appears very similar to this example but has an additional decoration for King George and Charlotte, c. 1761 .

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Research on objects in the collections, including provenance, is ongoing and may be incomplete. If you have additional information or would like to learn more about a particular object, please email fc-museums-web@fivecolleges.edu.

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