From Normandy France circa 1860
This antique cider pitcher jug is made of barrel oak and decorated with polished brass rings. A crest on the front with castle and leaf motifs adds to its decorative appeal. It is in good vintage condition with no chips or cracks to the glaze, and measures 9.5” diameter x 13.5” height.
Normandy is the home of faience pottery and Rouen was a centre for this production since at least the 1540s. There are many different styles, but the most important is called Nevers faience.
There is also a lot of tin-glazed earthenware produced here too. The jug below, from the collection of the late John Davies, is a fine example of this style.
The jug was found in the midden at Kidwelly Castle (Carmarthenshire) during excavations carried out in the 1930s. The decoration includes birds, masks and heraldic shields – all typical of Saintonge jugs.
A large number of jugs in this type have been found at the nearby Castell-y-Bere castle, which was occupied by the English from 1284-1294. These are highly valuable examples of a craft which was once one of the most popular and well-regarded in Wales.
Another interesting type of jug comes from the medieval town of Nevers in northern France. This jug is very similar to the ones illustrated above, but with a much larger body and a lower pouring rim.
This is a large, heavy jug which would have been used to store wine or cider. It is very decorative with a molded lid and a handle that is riveted to the front of the jug.