Museum of London Ceramics and Glass Collection Museum of London Ceramics and Glass Collection Ceramics Glass

Frechen

(1300 - 1800)

Frechen is situated 10km southwest of Cologne, close to the Brühl and Brauweiler terrace, an area that provided fine, silica-rich clay and clean quartz sand, necessary ingredients for high-temperature firing ceramics such as stoneware. The area was already well established as a potting industry with earlier 'proto-stonewares' and earthenwares. The earliest documentary references suggest stoneware potters worked in the region from the 1540's, although archaeological evidence indicates production from at least 1500. Early wares were very similar to those produced at Cologne, and there is documentary evidence of potters moving to and from the two towns in the 16th century. By the second half of the 16th century Frechen wares had supplanted Raeren products as the main German stoneware imported into Britain. The trade peaked in the early 17th century, by which time products had become very standardised, but, as with other German imports, it was interrupted by political unrest, both on the Continent, and closer to home during the English Civil War. By the beginning of 1700 comparable stoneware was being produced in England, and by the 1720's Westerwald stonewares had supplanted Frechen as the dominant German import.

Typical features of Frechen stoneware vessels in the 16th century include a dark grey clay body with an iron-rich, brown surface and salt-glaze treatment producing a characteristic mottled 'tiger' glaze (85.3/14).

The large majority of Frechen stoneware vesels in the Museum of London¿s collection are the distinctive 'Bartmann' or 'Bellarmine' jugs and bottles (A4287). These jugs are stamped with the face of a bearded man, thought to represent a 'Wild man' found in popular European myths of the period. The name 'Bellarmine' is commonly thought to be associated with Cardinal Roberto Bellarmino (1542-1621), an opponent of Protestantism. Initially these facemasks were very well executed (A734), but they became cruder during the 17th century.

Related objects

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24941 jug; drinking jug.
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24039 jug; drinking jug.
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23715 jug; drinking jug.
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17689 bottle.
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17687 jug; drinking jug.
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16524 jug; drinking jug.
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Ceramics and glass project digital image

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