17th Century Small Bellarmine/Bartmann Stoneware Jug


A fine example of a ‘bellarmine’ stoneware jug dating from the early 17th or late 16th century.

Stoneware jugs were normally used for the storage of food or drink, decanting wine or transporting goods. The mottled, orange-peel effect is derived by literally throwing salt onto the vessel during firing.

The ‘bartmaske’ or bearded face is thought to represent the proverbial wild man, who held a popular place in North European mythology since the 14th century. Another theory, which accounts for the ‘bellarmine’ label, is that the stoneware was used to satirise the Jesuit Cardinal Robert Bellarmino, derided in north Germany, England and the low Countries for his vocal criticism of Protestantism and alcohol consumption.

The manufactories in the Rhineland around the city of Cologne and the nearby towns of Altenrath, Siegburg and Frechen had exported their famous stoneware since the High Middle Ages.

The jug is in good condition for its age; the face is clear and easy to make out. There is a chip to the rim and towards the bottom of the jug.

Height: 22cm
Diameter: 8.5cm
Weight: 1059g