|Molded Stoneware, Basalt & Parian|
Two symbolic female figures representing Wisdom and Providence, worthy descendants of form...
Two symbolic female figures representing Wisdom and Providence, worthy descendants of formidable ancient goddesses, lend an air of majesty to this molded stoneware milk jug out of scale with its mid-size dimensions. The design originated with Samuel Alcock--always ambitious in his designs-- in the year of the Great Exhibition at the Crystal Palace. Surely the grandeur of that occasion could explain the gravitas of this and other designs of the day.
Allegorical details densely surround the two enthroned figures against a background of clouds and an architectural balustrade. Rays of sunshine emanate from the figures creating halos and defining the scalloped rim of the vessel. Attendant cherubs wait at hand to do the bidding of these dieties. To the left of Wisdom, a cherub holds an open book, pointing to some lines or perhaps to a descending dove, symbol of blessing. On the other side of this sibyl, we see symbolic figures of a lamb and more unexpectedly, a rooster--perhaps the herald of a new day. On the reverse, Providence appears, club in hand , ever vigilant, day or night as made evident by the crescent moon and the veil of darkness one cherub is carrying away. The symbolism continues on and on.
The unusual handle centers on a shaft in the form of an architectural pillar--perhaps a sign of strength and solidity.
|Dimensions:||Height 6 1/2 in.; width 4 1/2 in.; with handle 6 3/8 in.|
|Condition:||Faint 3/4 in. hairline off one scallop -- visible from the interior only.
The "Wisdom and Providence" jug was introduced by Samuel Alcock in 1851. However as...
The "Wisdom and Providence" jug was introduced by Samuel Alcock in 1851. However as with a number of Alcock designs, it was produced in stoneware by other manufacturers as well. Henrywood includes the jug in his "Puzzle-Pieces" chapter, illustrating a marked example by David Crowe of the Scottish Dryleys Pottery at Montrose ( Relief-Moulded Stoneware Jugs, 1820-1900, (pp. 213-214).
Alas, our example remains a "puzzle-piece."