: 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:
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.
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
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,
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in America in the Seventeenth Century. Albany
Institute of History & Art, Albany.
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
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
Prepared by Taft Kiser