Sunday, April 4, 2010

Suffolk fragments

An old friend, Simon Farr, came to visit last week. We used to work together over 20 years ago at the Albany Theatre. He has lived with his family in Aldeburgh, Suffolk for some time now so meeting up was a special event. Simon is a political cartoonist for The Guardian, and his wife Annie Lee is a potter. They run a B&B.

I showed him this project, and on his return he sent me a picture of some shards he found in Aldeburgh. He wants to find all the bits so that he can join them together to re-make the plate. I started this project wanting to do the same!

Postscript: I went to visit Simon and Annie in May...we went to look at the beach where Simon had found these fragments, but didn't find much on that day. Close by is a working brickworks, so the broken ceramic may have arrrived on the beach the same way as the stuff I found in Halstow, much further south in the Swale estuary. Household debris was burned and brought by barge to the brickworks, the ash extracted to use in the kilns, and the remainder dumped.

Discover Greenwich

Last Sunday I visited the spanking new Discover Greenwich, a permanent exhibition housed in the Royal Naval College, which tells the continuing story of the Old Royal Naval College and Maritime Greenwich. I came across an exhibit of pottery fragments:

1. Ceramic chamber pot, late 17th century
Miniature, or child-sized chamber pot in tin-glazed ware with Chinese-style decoration showing figures in a landscape, probably made in Southwark.
2. Ceramic chamber pot, mid 18th century
Large chamber pot in London-area post-medieval redware with internal lead glaze. Probably made at Woolwich or Deptford.
3. Ceramic chamber pot, mid 18th century
Chamber pot in Westerwald stoneware, imported from the Rhineland, Germany. It is decorated with an ornate floral rosette opposite the handle and large lions and medallions.
4. Ceramic dish, late 17th or 18th century
London-area post-medieval redware probably made at Woolwich or Deptford
5. Ceramic plate, early to mid-18th century
Tin-glazed with decoration in darker blue on a pale blue background, showing a peacock standing in a landscape with a border of flowers, a butterfly and a dragonfly.
6. Ceramic dish, 17th century
Tin-glazed with polychrome decoration, showing part of the leaves, stem and petals of a flower. Probably made in Southwark 1630-80.

On the way back I found the tide was out, so I did a spot of beachcombing and found a hoard of blue and white...