The innocent eye, Bow porcelain and a North Devon harvest jug

Published 5th April 2013

I believe it was the art historian Ernst Gombrich who suggested that nobody can look at an art object with an innocent eye, meaning that it is futile to try and look at something without bringing to bare all ones personal prejudices be they positive or negative.

 two early bow porcelain figures of fish sellers circa 1755-62

Two early Bow porcelain figures of fish sellers circa 1755-62 (FS18/548)

I can appreciate the workmanship that went into the pair of early Bow porcelain fish sellers in our forthcoming sale on 25th April, colourful, well modelled and charming examples of early English porcelain, but ultimately they where rather over sentimentalised bourgeois things. Give me something in which the hand of the maker is obvious, something like a North Devon pottery harvest jug.

 a documentary north devon pottery harvest jug

A documentary North Devon pottery harvest jug (FS18/507)

To consider it solely as rustic country pottery is a disservice. Dug from the red soil of North Devon and brim full of all the agricultural and maritime symbolism you might expect from the county, decorated with a galleon in full sail, compass, sun, moon and stars, fish, birds and foliage. As well as a Bideford attribution, a local name and dated too! What more could you want?

 a north devon pottery harvest jug inscribed for richard ching, bideford, 1855

A North Devon pottery harvest jug inscribed for Richard Ching, Bideford, 1855 (FS18/507)


Having waxed lyrical about this North Devon pottery harvest jug, you might be forgiven for thinking that I once lived in Bideford, well I just couldn’t say.

 

a north devon pottery harvest jug showing typical scroll terminal and thumrest

A North Devon pottery harvest jug showing typical scroll terminal and thumrest (FS18/507)

Subscribe to catalogue alerts & news