Border ware tripod pipkin

Border ware tripod pipkin

As early as the early 13th century, pottery manufacturing occurred in several centers along the borders of west Surrey and northeast Hampshire counties in England. The original wares are known as Surrey whiteware because of the fine white clays used. The term “Tudor Green” applies to whitewares with copper oxide green glazes that were made during ca. 1380-1550 (Pearce 1992).

Ceramics produced there from the mid-16th until the late-17th centuries are classified as Border ware. This term applies to objects made of both the fine, white-firing clays and the red-firing clays. From the late-16th until the end of the 17th centuries, Border ware pottery manufacturing flourished. The area served as the main source of utilitarian ceramic vessels for London and southeast England. Since London merchants were the primary sources for James Fort supplies, large quantities and many varieties of Border ware vessel forms are found in James Fort features.


Fabric: The whiteware fabric generally ranges from off-white and gray, to pale pink and pale buff. Visible under magnification are numerous small quartz sand inclusions, numerous tiny specks of hematite, and occasional lumps and streaks of off-white clay. Occasional large chunks of hematite are visible.

Glaze: Flanged dishes, porringers, and food preparation and storage vessels are lead glazed on the interior surfaces. Costrels are lead glazed on the exterior. Drug jars are lead glazed on the interior and exterior surfaces. Cooking pot lids are unglazed. On whiteware, glazes range in color from yellow to olive green if colorless. A small amount of copper filings added to the glaze produced a speckled green glaze on yellow. Larger amounts of copper produced a dark green color. The addition of manganese or iron produced a mottled brown.

Decoration: A single Schweinetopf in the James Fort collections is ornamented with a finger-impressed band around the opening.

Form: All Border ware in the James Fort ceramic assemblage is wheel thrown, well fashioned, and finely tooled. Forms found at James Fort include: a 4-legged Schweinetopf or covered dish for roasting meat; a pedestal salt; a double dish, possibly used for shaving; a standing costrel with bilateral strap handles, possibly used to hold olive oil; a drug jar; a strainer; beer jugs; bottle-shaped costrels with diametrically opposing lug handles; flanged rim saucers; flanged rim dishes; flanged rim bowls; porringers with single horizontal loop handle; cups with single vertical handle; small tripod pipkins; large tripod pipkins; rounded jars; candlesticks; lids. Pipkin handles are hollow; their legs are solid. The four Schweinetof legs are hollow. Porringer handles are horizontal and solid. Vessel shapes illustrated below are thoroughly described in Jacqueline Pearce’s publication, Post-Medieval Pottery in London, 1500-1700: Border Wares (Pearce 1992).

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