Slipware tankard inscribed IOHN SONFORT
Lot 1
An important slipware tankard by John Sonfort, late 17th century
Sold for £20,000 (US$ 33,173) inc. premium
Lot Details
An important slipware tankard by John Sonfort, late 17th century
Attributed to North Staffordshire, of double gourd shape resembling two 'caudle cups' stacked one on top of the other, with a looped strap handle lightly grooved, the orange/buff clay body dipped in dark brown and embossed in cream-coloured clay with a chequer arrangement of panels, each moulded in relief with the head of a crowned angel or putto, the panels also stamped with raspberry prunts and other patterns including crosses and cogwheel motifs, inscribed around the neck with the name IOHN:SONFORT in dark brown letters jewelled in dots of cream slip, the S initial of Sonfort reversed, 18.7cm high (very minor chips)

Footnotes

  • This remarkable vessel is closely related to a mug in the Henry Price Collection sold at Sotheby's 22 November 2000, lot 130 and subsequently in the Longridge Collection, lot 113. The discovery of a second example bearing an identical name, written in the same hand with the letter S reversed, lends weight to the suggestion that this is the name of the potter. No other pieces of inscribed slipware by John Sonford are known. The lettering in dark slip with white dots is characteristic of North Staffordshire and in terms of colouring the base clay resembles the well-known owl jugs from this region. The colouring on the Price Collection tankard differs from the present lot and it is applied with fewer moulded heads, although in other respects the shape and decoration are identical. The heads on both tankards appear to be wearing crowns, suggesting these were made for royalist supporters. The use of raspberry prunts and other stamps occurs on a number of slipware vessels attributed to North Staffordshire towards the end of the seventeenth century, see Rackham's Catalogue of the Glaisher Collection, figs. 265 and 266 and David Barker and Steve Crompton, Slipware in the Collection of the Potteries Museum (2007), pp. 32-33. The two-handled cup shown on p.33 is dated 1685 and features a juggled slip ground similar to the owl jugs. This vessel also includes the initials FR and IS, the latter possibly referring to John Sonfort
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    Auction Administration - British Ceramics
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