Buckley earthenware serving bowl

This 18th century earthenware serving bowl, diameter 35cm is a fine example of slip ware decoration. The brown, orange and cream glazes are precisely applied in narrow decorative lines, rapidly executed before the glazes dried. The feathered pattern is made by drawing a fine tool at right angles across the freshly applied lines of pale cream glaze. The five straight thicker orange lines and the prominent two wiggly lines were added after. Most slipware pottery has a brown base glaze, like this bowl, but with a much simpler thicker top pattern in a contrasting colour which is often yellow. In this bowl both the wavy and straight lines show the steady hand of a master potter.

Buckley, a small town near the north Welsh/English border, was the centre of Welsh earthenware pottery manufacture for over 600 years from the medieval period to the 1940s. Throughout that period it had over 40 different potteries, exploiting the local seams of coal and varieties of clay. The factories made earthenware containers, plates, jugs, jars of different sizes – ‘crocks’ – which were exported to towns along the north Wales coast and to Ireland. Bricks and tiles were also made.

This serving dish is on display in the highlights case in Gallery 3.