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Amphitrite Jug

Date: 1856
Overall: 8 1/2 × 5 × 4 1/2 in. (21.6 × 12.7 × 11.4 cm)
Medium: White stoneware with blue enameled background and metal lid
Credit Line: Gift of Mary F. Williamson
Object number: G14.2.1
DescriptionThe Amphitrite Jug was the last jug to be registered by Charles Meigh and Son and depicts rich neo-classical iconography featuring Amphitrite, goddess of the sea and wife of Poseidon. She is bordered by tritons riding on dolphins and blowing on conch shells to calm the waves. The handle is moulded with bulrushes, and white swans symbolizing rivers, while at the base is a mask of Poseidon. The design is a prime example of Victorian revivalism in the neo-classical style. The jug was moulded in two parts including the handle, requiring no additional finishing, and illustrates the sophisticated manufacturing technology in nineteenth-century Staffordshire. The invention of relief-moulded stonewares forced many British china makers and decorators to emigrate because demand for their skill was diminishing. Relief-moulded jugs of the 1840s, also known as ‘fancy jugs,’ were used for water, mulled wine, ale and milk and came in four sizes in multiple colours with and without lids. They became fashionable collector’s items desired for their pronounced moulded relief decoration.