Antique Portneuf mug. A large earthenware mug sponge painted in the “Portneuf” style with a geometric-shaped band on the top in brown, and a floral motif in black around the centre against a rich turquoise blue background. The interior is cream coloured. A rare and striking 19th century example of spongeware. Unmarked. Made in Great Britain. Circa 1860.
Minor crazing throughout. Some variances in glaze and sponge application commonly found on hand applied wares of this period and is a mark of authenticity.
About “Portneuf” Pottery*
“Earthenware kitchen or table wares with sponged decoration known as “Portneuf” (the name of a town near Quebec City). Originally thought to have been made in Canada, then Staffordshire: it is now Scotland, however, that should be credited with many of them. It was put on unglazed wares by means of designs cut out of the roots of sponges and used in conjunction with “underglaze colours”. Much of the sponged ware had a ‘bright fancy character’ admired in the ‘out-markets’ of the world (affordable country wares made for Canada and America, where much of it has now come to be called ‘spatterware’). Floral decoration was common: bluebells, fuchsias, marguerites, peonies, thistles, and nameless other blossoms. Rosettes, medallions, crossed flags, sailing ships, fans, ferns, as well as animals abound. Very little of it is marked.”
This hard to find and highly sought after pottery was made in Great Britain primarily from the early to mid-19th century into the late 1870’s.
*Source: Cameron, Elizabeth (1984) Nineteenth-Century Pottery and Porcelain in Canada, Second Edition, McGill-Queen’s University Press, Kingston and Montreal
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