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Normandy Jug

A jug from Rouen, the home of faience pottery since at least the 1540s. Although influenced by Italy, it had its own distinctive style and was a major centre for the production of tin-glazed earthenware.

The jug is gourd-shaped with a loop handle, and has been incised all round the footrim and with a ‘thumbed’ base. This feature is known from many jugs of this type but has been debated for some time as to why it was done. Recent research, however, has shown that the ‘thumbed’ base was used to prevent the jug from sagging, thus enabling it to rest on a flat surface without rolling over or falling.

Oil on panel – Funny peasant scene representing children heckling and having overturned a milk duck, provoking the wrath of their mother who had undoubtedly just milked the cows behind her. In the background the ruins of a church and a castle, certainly imaginary, are in the style of the period, with a village in a valley by the sea.

The jug is decorated in red earthenware with applied and incised decoration. The front of the mouth is moulded with a rough representation of a human face; below, a formal brooch between human breasts in relief; the lower part of the body has applied straight and wavy vertical stripes. There are also traces of brown glaze. The jug is in good condition. There is an inscription trace on the reverse at the top of the panel, though the signature is unreadable.