|Molded Stoneware, Basalt & Parian|
A gypsy fortune teller, straight out of a romantic opera or a spooky Halloween fete, peers...
A gypsy fortune teller, straight out of a romantic opera or a spooky Halloween fete, peers intensely into a teacup to discern the fate of a young girl in the arrangement of tea leaves. The girl, curious to learn her destiny, presses against the shoulder of the veiled crone, knocking aside the tea implements to reach a better view. The two figures of the "Cup Tosser" jug--young and old, intent and anxious--are depicted with a degree of characterization unusual in relief molded jugs.
Equally unusual is the dark blue ground which adds a nocturnal quality to the vignette. The color has a translucent quality, more like an enamel wash than the colored clay slips usually employed on stoneware vessels. The contrasting ground highlights the Rococo scroll work of the jug's collar that continues onto the ornate handle.
In its subject "Cup Tosser" relates to two aspects of popular Romantic thought: the element of the supernatural and the focus on the gypsy, representing a group outside the norms of society and living a life closer to nature.
|Dimensions:||Height 9 3/8 in.; width 8 in.; diameter 6 3/4 in.|
|Condition:||Fine: some firing speckling in foot; minor bruise at foot edge
R. K. Henrywood in Relief-Moulded Jugs: 1820-1900 traces the somewhat twisted history of t...
R. K. Henrywood in Relief-Moulded Jugs: 1820-1900 traces the somewhat twisted history of the "Cup Tosser" design. In 1849 Edward Walley registered the design based on a painting, Cup Tossing, by N. J. Crowley (engraved by C.W. Sharpe for the Art Union.). Walley titled his jug "Hecate"after the classical witch, suggesting a situation more ominous than a simple parlor pastime.
The design, renamed "Cup Tosser," is illustrated among jugs displayed by the Cork & Edge pottery at the 1855 Universal Exhibition in Paris. Continuing a strain of plagiarism hardly unknown among British potters, a third version was issued about the same time by Worthington and Green. Since Walley jugs, Henrywood tells us, were consistently marked, we will attribute our example to one of his "followers." (Henrywood, pp. 101, 196, 208).