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Preservation Virginia > Jamestown Rediscovery > Research Resources > Jamestown Ceramics Research Group > Ceramic Types by Country > Ceramic Types by Country - Germany > Westerwald Stoneware

Westerwald Stoneware

Westerwald Stoneware
Description

Fabric: Stoneware fabric, which can vary slightly in color from white to gray.

Glaze: Salt-glazed. The vessels typically have cobalt blue decoration, and after about 1665, sometimes have manganese purple (Noel Hume 1991:281). Examples without applied color, "monochrome stonewares," are sometimes found. Made in Siegburg, Raeren, and later Hohr at the end of the 16th century, the monochrome style reappeared in the Westerwald about 1675 and continued into the 18th century (Gaimster 1997a: 179).

Form: In 17th-century Virginia, the most common form is the jug, with most of the surface covered by relief molding, stamps, and sometimes carving. Occasionally found are jugs with narrow mouths, stamped decoration, and one to three relief-molded medallions on an otherwise undecorated body. Smaller drinking jugs, or rounded mugs, are found, but cylindrical mugs are rare before the later 17th century. Chamber pots with 1630s dates exist (Hurst et al. 1986:224), but the form is not known in Virginia before 1650 and remains rare until the 18th century, when they become extremely common.

Discussion

The cobalt blue decoration characteristic of Westerwald, and adopted onto American stoneware, actually originated in modern Belgium, at Raeren. In the late 16th century, Raeren potters moved to the Westerwald, in some cases even taking Raeren molds, and in the first half of the 17th century, Raeren and Westerwald products are "virtually identical" (Noel Hume 1991:280; Gaimster 1997a:251). Hurst et al. recommend calling all blue decorated examples "Westerwald," or if they are known to be Raeren, "Westerwald-type," using the Raeren name only for brown vessels (1986:221).

Westerwald is frequently found in the colonial Chesapeake, although not on all sites. In early 17th-century Virginia, the most common form is the biconic, a simplified variation of the baluster jug which was first produced at Raeren in the 1570s (Gaimster 1997a:225). Baluster jugs are found in relatively small numbers, and the form appears to fade in the 1620s, although one Virginia example is as late as the 1660s (Markell 1990:72). Biconics were popular in Virginia into the 1630s but the basic style, with carved vertical gadrooning on the lower section, essentially disappears in the 1640s.

By 1625, Westerwald was experimenting with less-intricate decoration (Reineking-von Bock 1986:324). The major difference between the new types and the baluster/biconics was the return to a simplified, rounded form, without ridged cordons and carved vertical gadrooning on the lower section of the vessel. These transitional pieces continued to use the stamped, applied, and carved ornamentation typically found on baluster-style jugs, but now stretched to the base cordon.

In Virginia, the most commonly found style growing out of this transition used the simplified rounded shape dotted with individually applied ornaments of relief molding. This molding generally consists of rosettes or prunts, and numerous variations exist, including stamped devices, but the general type is a rounded body dotted with small decorations. This style had emerged by the 1630s and was extremely popular through the middle of the century, with some examples being made as late as 1694 (Reineking-von Bock 1986:348).

By about 1675, the "rosettes" were sometimes arranged like flower bouquets with "stems" of three or four incised parallel lines leading to a common point. This style continues into the early 18th century, when the decorative molding is generally reduced to a single medallion and all other decoration is incised.

In addition to the highly-decorated types, a more conservative style of Westerwald is occasionally found in the 17th-century Chesapeake (de Bodt 1991:70, #113; Gaimster 1997a:262). In form, these vessels usually have narrow mouths and a squat, rounded shape closely related to that of 16th-century Bartmann jugs. At least one Virginia example has a base cordon and a rounded foot, like the more elaborate Westerwald jugs.

Like the Bartmanner, the main decorations are large relief-molded medallions placed on the front and sometimes also on the sides. At least one Virginia example has the arms of Amsterdam. The central medallion often has separately applied lion supporters, and the vessel can be additionally decorated with floral stamps. The use of cobalt blue is generally confined to the molding and the cordons.

This type of jug appears to have a strong connection to chamber pots. The same style of decoration, with medallions and lion supporters, appears on a chamber pot dated 1632 and continues on that form, largely unchanged, to the mid-18th century (Hurst et al. 1986:183, 224-225).

Sources
Allan, John P. (1984) Medieval and Post-Medieval Finds from Exeter, 1971-1980. Exeter City Council and The University of Exeter.

Allan, John, and James Barber, with a contribution by David Higgins. (1992) A seventeenth-century pottery group from Kitto Institute, Plymouth. In Everyday and Exotic Pottery from Europe: Studies in honour of John G. Hurst, edited by David Gaimster and Mark Redknap, pp.225-245. Oxbow Books, Oxford.

Baker, Emerson W. (1985) The Clarke & Lake Company: The Historical Archaeology of a Seventeenth-Century Maine Settlement, Occasional Publications in Maine Archaeology Number Four. The Maine Historic Preservation Committee, Augusta.

Bradley, Robert L., and Helen B. Camp. (1994) The Forts of Pemaquid, Maine: An Archaeological and Historical Study, Occasional Publications in Maine Archaeology Number Ten. The Maine Historic Preservation Commission, Augusta.

Brown, David A., and Thane H. Harpole. (1997) The Gloucester Frontier: An Archaeological Investigation of a Mid-Seventeenth-Century Domestic Farmstead (44GL407), Gloucester County, Virginia. Ms on file, Department of Anthropology, College of William and Mary, Williamsburg.

Clevis, Hemmy, and Jaap Kottman. (1989) Weggegooid en Teruggevonden: Aardewerk en glas uit Deventer vondstcomplexen 1375-1750. Stichting Archeologie Ijssel/Vechtstreek.

Clevis, Hemmy, and Mieke Smit. (1990) Verscholen in vuil: archeologische vondsten uit Kampen 1375-1925. Stichting Archeologie Ijssel/Vechtstreek.

Cotter, John L. (1958) Archaeological Excavations at Jamestown. United States Department of the Interior, Washington.

de Bodt, Saskia. (1991) Dated ceramic wares. Museum Boymans-van Beuningen, Rotterdam.

Ellis, Peter (ed). (1993) Beeston Castle, Chesire: a report on the excavations 1968-85 by Laurence Keen and Peter Hough, Archaeological Report No. 23. English Heritage, London.

Faulkner, Alaric, and Gretchen Faulkner. (1987) The French at Pentagoet 1635-1674. The Maine Historic Preservation Commission, Augusta.

Gaimster, David R.M., with contributions by Robin Hildyard, John A. Goodall, Judy Rudoe, Duncan R. Hook, Ian C. Freestone, and Mike S. Tite. (1997a) German Stoneware 1200-1900: Archaeology and Cultural History. British Museum Press, London.

(1997b) Rhenish stoneware from shipwrecks: the study of ceramic function and lifespan. In Artefacts from Wrecks: Dated Assemblages from the Late Middle Ages to the Industrial Revolution, Oxbow Monograph 84, edited by Mark Redknap, pp.121-128. Oxbow Books, Oxford.

Gaimster, David R.M., and Duncan R. Hook. (1995) Post-Medieval Stoneware Manufacture and Trade in the Rhineland and Southern Britain: A Programme of Neutron Activation Analysis at the British Museum. In Trade and Discovery: The Scientific Study of Artefacts from Post-Medieval Europe and Beyond, British Museum Occasional Paper 109, edited by Duncan R. Hook and David R.M. Gaimster, pp.69-90. The British Museum, London.

Gaskell Brown, Cynthia (ed). (1979) Castle Street: The Pottery, Plymouth Museum Archaeological Series, Number 1. Plymouth City Museum and Art Gallery, Plymouth.

Green, Jeremy N. (1989) The loss of the Verenigde Oostindische Compagnie retourschip Batavia... Western Australia 1629, BAR International Series 489. B.A.R., Oxford.

Green, Jeremy N., with contributions by Lous Zuiderbaan, Robert Stenuit, S. J. Wilson, and Mike Owens. (1977) The Loss of the Verenigde Oostindische Compagnie Jacht Vergulde Draeck, Western Australia 1656, BAR Supplementary Series 36(i). B.A.R., Oxford.

Guimont, Jacques. (1996) La Petite-Ferme du cap Tourmente: De la ferme de Champlain aux grandes volees d'oies. Les editions du Septentrion, Quebec.

Hahnel, Elsa (ed). (1992) Siegburger Steinzeug, Bestandskatalog, Bd 2. Fuhrer und Schriften des Rheinischen Freilichtmuseums und Landesmuseums fur Volkskunde in Kommern, 38, Cologne.

Hurst, John G. (1983) The trade in medieval pottery around the North Sea. In Ceramics and Trade: The production and distribution of later medieval pottery in north-west Europe, edited by Peter Davey and Richard Hodges, pp.257-260, University of Sheffield.

Hurst, John G., David S. Neal, and H.J.E. van Beuningen. (1986) Pottery Produced and Traded in North-West Europe 1350-1650, Rotterdam Papers, 6, Rotterdam.

Jennings, Sarah, with M.M. Karshner, W.F. Milligan, and S.V. Williams. (1981) Eighteen centuries of pottery from Norwich, East Anglian Archaeology Report No. 13. The Norwich Survey, Norwich.

Klinge, Ekkart. (1996) German Stoneware. Rijksmuseum Amsterdam, Amsterdam.

Kohnemann, Michel. (1982) Auflagen auf Raerener Steinzeug, ein Bildwerk. Topfereimuseum, Raeren.

Lenting, J.J, H. van Gangelen, and H. van Westing (ed). (1993) Schans op de Grens: Bourtanger bodemvondsten 1580-1850. Stichting Vesting Bourtange, Sellingen.

Markell, Ann B. (1990) 44PG92 - Flowerdew Hundred Site Report. Flowerdew Hundred Foundation, Hopewell, Virginia.

Miller, Henry M., with contributions by Alexander H. Morrison II and Garry Wheeler Stone. (1983) A Search for the "Citty of Saint Maries": Report on the 1981 Excavations in St. Mary's City, Maryland. St. Maries Citty Archaeology Series #1. St. Mary's City Commission, St. Mary's City.

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(1982) Martin's Hundred. Alfred A. Knopf, New York.

(1991) A Guide to Artifacts of Colonial America. Originally published by Alfred A. Knopf, Inc., 1969. Vintage Books, New York.

Platt, Colin, and Richard Coleman-Smith, with P.A. Faulkner, M.R. Maitland Muller, J.S. Wacher, F.A. Aberg, and others. (1975) Excavations in Medieval Southampton 1953-1969, Volume 2: The finds. Leicester University Press, Leicester.

Reineking-von Bock, Gisela. (1986) Steinzeug. Third edition. Kunstgewerbemuseum Koln, Cologne.

Ruempol, A.P.E., and Alexandra G.A. van Dongen. (1991) Pre-industrial Utensils. Museum Boymans-van Beuningen, Rotterdam.

Wilcoxen, Charlotte. (1987) Dutch Trade and Ceramics in America in the Seventeenth Century. Albany Institute of History & Art, Albany.

Sites
Chancellor's Point, Maryland
St. Mary's City, Maryland
Bennett Farm 44YO68, Virginia
Chesopean 44VB48, Virginia
Flowerdew Sites: 44PG82; 44PG92
Gloucester 44GL407, Virginia
Hampton 44HT44, Virginia
Jamestown, Virginia
Jordan's Point Sites:
  • Jordan's Journey (44PG300)
  • Jordan's Journey Jordan/Ferrar (44PG302)
  • Jordan's Journey (44PG307)
Kingsmill Tenement, 44JC39, Virginia
Mathews Manor, Virginia
Richneck, Virginia

Prepared by Taft Kiser





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