Friday, October 25, 2013

Object of the Day, Museum Edition: A Parian Punch and Judy Jug

Circa 1880
This and all related images from
The Victoria & Albert Museum

I find this to be a rather odd item.  It's parian/biscuit, but it's glazed.  Parian isn't usually glazed, which, actually is what makes it parian as opposed to "porcelain."  The whole point of parian was to mimic the look of costly marble items and allow for mass production of attractive, affordable art pieces.  Every so often, however, parian items found themselves glazed so that they'd actually be useful.  Such is the case of this peculiar jug.

Though it's hard to see, this pale blue Parian ware jug features a charming relief on both sides.  Each side has the raised title, "PUNCH."  On one side, in relief, we see a depiction
of Mr. Punch seated in front of an easel behind which is his dog Toby.  The other side shows two figures surrounding a traditional Punch and Judy booth.  Always at his best, our 
Mr. Punch hangs from the proscenium opening reaching down to the figures in front of the booth who most likely represent his Mrs. Punch and the baby.


Hugh Passow said...

Hello. A few comments on your blue Punch pitcher description. This is not Parian. It is a form of Earthern ware with a soft body more like the Staffordshire items. Parian ware has ground feldspar in it to give it the look of marble.Parian is sometimes glazed or painted but rarely.I have a graduated set of 3 of the blue Punch pitchers in my collection an offshoot of my figural Parian collection that now numbers over 500 pieces. I will try to send you a pic of the pitchers. Hugh

Joseph Crisalli said...

Thank you, Hugh.

I was confounded by this pitcher because the Victoria & Albert Museum--where this is on exhibit--insists that this is parian. In my experience, it certainly isn't. So, in my description of the piece, I found myself rather torn as to what to say.

I'm going to send your note, along with some additional comments of my own, to the V&A so that they can update the entry for this pitcher in their catalog and avoid future confusion.