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Banded Slipware Jug

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Artifact Description

The second most numerous category of ceramics recovered from the Jacksonville “Blue China” wreck site were 48 British-made slip-decorated utilitarian earthenware pieces consisting of an assortment of bowls, jugs and mugs, dating to the mid-19th century.  These wares are also referred to as ‘dipped’ – the term used by potters and merchants of the period.

The eight dipped jugs retrieved from the wreck site in two different sizes are from a total of 12 visible on the site’s surface. They are of baluster form with a shaped pouring lip, an extruded handle with molded foliate terminals and a turned base. All are unmarked and feature similar decoration: a wide, blue-gray or tan central band flanked by two brighter light blue bands. Eight narrow brown slip lines define the boundaries of four main bands. Two principal sizes are recorded, with two sub-types evident within the larger examples: one displays an everted rim, the other a vertical rim. As in the case of the shell-edged wares, the quantity recorded leaves no doubt that these items were cargo. Especially noteworthy was the discovery that five of the jugs each contained a single clear glass tumbler stowed within; a sixth contained fragments of two pale green glass tumblers. This suggests a packing strategy that maximized all available space within the relatively small hold of this coastal schooner

First produced by Staffordshire potters in the late 18th century, these generic whitewares enjoyed a long period of popularity and were among the least expensive imported decorated earthenware available to American consumers from the 1780s well into the 1850s. A number of features related to production changes that took place in the 19th century independently confirm the date range of 1850-60 for the dipped wares found on the Jacksonville “Blue China” shipwreck, while additional artifacts from the site narrow its most plausible date of loss to 1854. One was a reduction in color choices. Originally slips comprised a variety of earth colorants. Iron oxide produced reds and rusts, and manganese produced black and dark browns. Cobalt oxide yielded blue, copper oxide green, and antimony and uranium yellow. The lead glaze that vitrified the objects also enhanced these earth colors. When the toxicity of many of these substances became realized, they were removed from circulation and became obsolete. As a result, the colors found on dipped wares in the second half of the 19th century are predominantly black, blue, gray and white and lack the earlier vitality.

Other Details

H. 16.0cm; 18.8cm