Wednesday, 2 February 2011

Glug Jug

I have a little piece of history for you, in the style of the TV favourite 'The Antiques Roadshow', prompted by the fact that I'm off to Dartmouth today.   In my travels around South Devon I see quite a lot of these strange fishy chaps gracing window sills and mantlepieces .  Nana Lovelygrey who lives in Somerset  has one in the guest room where we sleep when we visit.  Although its not my personal cup of tea, its fantastical styling holds enough of a weird fascination  to  drive me to write this post.

What I didn't know until I did a bit of research is that  this fishy vessel is known as a glug glug or gurgle jug because of the sound that it produces when water is poured.  Louis and I will verify that next time we visit Nana Lovelygrey!  Although these jugs were originally made as far back as the late 19th century by various manufacturers they are mostly associated with Dartmouth Pottery. A special pair were commissioned by the Commanding Officer of Britannia Naval  College to present  to  the Queen and Prince Philip after a visit  in 1958 and undoubtedly  increased their  popularity.   After the pottery closed in 2002 Wade Ceramics (of Whimsies fame) bought the fish mould and I understand that there has been somewhat of a resurgence of their sales in the US.

The source of this modern take on a gurgling jug that I spotted in the Fireworks Gallery  at Seattle Airport was a instant reminder of home turf.  For, me the simplistic nature of the newer version's lines in its funky palette of colours is more pleasing than its earlier more fussy counterparts.  Let it serve as a reminder to the arts and crafts community that we can take inspiration from older pieces of work  and produce our own funky updates in whatever medium that we choose.  Gurgling fish pendants anyone?

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