Chipstone
Menu

Ivor Noël Hume
John Bacon: Prince of Stoneware Potters?

Ceramics in America 2005

Full Article
Contents
  • Figure 1
    Figure 1

    Jug, John Bacon, Bradley, Staffordshire, 1842. Brown salt-glazed stoneware. H. 10 1/2". Capacity: 2 gallons. (Unless otherwise noted, all objects courtesy of the author’s collection; photos, Gavin Ashworth.)

  • Figure 2
    Figure 2

    Detail of the type-impressed “JOHN BACON” on the jug illustrated in fig. 1.

  • Figure 3
    Figure 3

    Detail of the inscriptions on the neck of the jug illustrated in fig. 1. Left: “Drink and Be merry / And Never be Sad / 1842.” Right: “Good luck to the Farmer /Augst 20th 18...2” [the third digit has been reinscribed, possibly a 5 overwritten by a 6].

  • Figure 4
    Figure 4

    Survey map showing the Bradley Pottery in Lower Bradley. (Staffordshire Sheet 67.04, “Bradley, Coseley & Wednesbry Oak 1901,” repr. Alan Godfrey Maps, courtesy of The Trustees of the National Library of Scotland.)

  • Figure 5
    Figure 5

    Jug, ca. 1845–1850. Stoneware. H. 7". Impressed on the base of this molded brown stoneware jug with oriental motifs is “R * BREW / BILSTON.” (Courtesy, Wolverhampton Art Gallery and Museum.)

  • Figure 6
    Figure 6

    Diagram showing the relative distances between Bradley and other towns that are associated with John Bacon’s life and known products. (Diagram by Jamie May.)

  • Figure 7
    Figure 7

    Detail from John Speed’s 1610 map of Staffordshire and the surrounding area, showing the locations of Avley (Alveley), Bilston, and Beandes (Beaudesert).

  • Figure 8
    Figure 8

    Photographs of Hall Close. Top: Ca. 1850.Bottom: 2005. (Photo, Ivor Noël Hume.)

  • Figure 9
    Figure 9

    Details of sprigs on the jug illustrated in fig. 1. Left: Toby at his table. Center: Sleeping toper. Right: “The Vicar and Moses.”

  • Figure 10
    Figure 10

    Detail of wheat sheaf and sickle sprig on the jug illustrated in fig. 1.

  • Figure 11
    Figure 11

    Mug, 1849. Stoneware. H. 5 3/4". This brown stoneware mug bears the inscription “Mr. Cockayne / Gamekeeper / Beandes / Augt 13th / 1849.” (Courtesy, Ashmolean Museum.)

  • Figure 12a
    Figure 12a

    Left: Detail of the handwritten inscription on the mug illustrated in fig. 11. Right: Detail of the handwritten inscription on the jug illustrated in fig. 1: “1842 / A present / From John Bacon / Potter Bradley / Nr Bilston / Stafordordshire.”

  • Figure 12b
    Figure 12b

    Left: Detail of the handwritten inscription on the mug illustrated in fig. 11. Right: Detail of the handwritten inscription on the jug illustrated in fig. 1: “1842 / A present / From John Bacon / Potter Bradley / Nr Bilston / Stafordordshire.”

  • Figure 13
    Figure 13

    Engraving of Beaudesert Park, Staffordshire, nineteenth century. (Courtesy, Ashmolean Museum, Oxford.)

  • Figure 14
    Figure 14

    Jug, John Bacon, Bradley Pottery, Staffordshire, 1849. Brown salt-glazed stoneware H. 15 5/8". Type-impressed on one shoulder: “MRS : ROBERTS”; on the other shoulder: “BARREL INN”; on the front: “BAGWORTH / 1849.”

  • Figure 15
    Figure 15

    Detail of the inscription on the base of the jug illustrated in fig. 14. Incised in script: “Made By John Bacon / at Bradley Pottrey / 1849.”

  • Figure 16
    Figure 16

    Detail of the jug illustrated in fig. 14 showing sprig-applied farm implements—scythe, sickle, double harrow, rake, and hay fork.

  • Figure 17
    Figure 17

    Detail of sprigs on the jugs illustrated in figs. 1 (1842) and 14 (1849). Left: Church with birds on its roof from fig. 1. Right: Church similar in design but lacking birds from fig. 14.

  • Figure 18
    Figure 18

    Detail of sprigs on the jugs illustrated in figs. 1 (1842) and 14 (1849). Left: Plow with broken wheel from fig. 1. Center: Spade and plow with intact wheel from fig. 11. Right: Plow and barrow details from fig. 14. (Courtesy, Ashmolean Museum.)

  • Figure 19
    Figure 19

    Detail of sprigs on the jugs illustrated in figs. 1 (1842) and 14 (1849). Left: Windmill from fig. 1. Right: Windmill from fig. 14. Below: Another windmill from fig. 14 alongside a farm complex.

  • Figure 20
    Figure 20

    Detail of sprigs on the jug illustrated in fig. 14 showing a wheelbarrow (left) and a farm cart (right).

  • Figure 21
    Figure 21

    Detail of a sprig on the jug illustrated in fig. 14 showing a version of the British royal arms with a shell substituting for the cap of Hanover. Note the off-center treatment of the scroll below the garter.

  • Figure 22
    Figure 22

    Detail of the handle on the jud illustrated in fig. 14 featuring triple faux at the top and at the bottom.

  • Figure 23
    Figure 23

    Mug, possibly John Bacon, Bradley, Staffordshire, ca. 1840s. Brown salt-glazed stoneware. H. 5 1/2". (Photo, Lance Mytton.) This updated, uninscribed mug displays sprigs paralleling those on the jugs illustrated in figs. 1 and 14.