Brief description

Salt-glazed stoneware Bartmannkrug, or Bellarmine jug, decorated with an applied bearded face mask, made in Germany c.1630-1640.

Object name


Object number



On Display

Production date

c.1630-1640 (manufactured)

Production place

Germany (manufactured)


Stuart (1603-1714)


salt glaze


salt glazed

Physical description

Salt-glazed stoneware Bartmannkrug ('bearded man jug') or Bellarmine with a single handle. The jug has a moulded and applied decorative seal and an applied bearded face mask to the neck.


Height: 18.5cm
Width: 12cm

Website keywords

serving drink


Label text for the exhibition At Home with the World, Geffrye Museum (20 March 2012- 9 September 2012):
Vessels made from stoneware were made in northern Germany where raw materials of clay and water were plentiful. Between 1600 and 1640 about 10 million jugs, beakers, bottles and jars were shipped to London. A jug like this one, probably used to serve ale, would have been a common sight in a London household.

Label Text for the World at Home project (17 May 2011- 24 July 2011):
This object was featured in the World at Home project and display at the Geffrye Museum from 17 May to 24 July 2011. The project was a result of a collaboration between the Geffrye Museum and MA students from the Institute of Archeology, University College London. The students chose eleven objects from the museum’s period rooms to highlight the narrative of England’s ever-changing relationship with the rest of the world. Through the expansion of the British Empire and development of international trade, the English middle classes brought into their homes goods as varied as pottery from Germany, tea from China and modern furniture from Scandinavia. Other outputs of the project included design marketing materials, on-line activities, events, design activities for children and visitor and audience research.
The students researched these objects and prepared text panels for the display. The text is recorded below:
Fancy a Pint?
From pint to gallon capacity, Bellarmine jugs were Germany’s main exported stoneware vessel between the fourteenth and eighteenth centuries. In the 1500s and 1600s, robust, hard-wearing jugs, bottles and pitchers, first called ‘Bartmanns’ and then ‘Bellarmines’, were imported in huge quantities and became popular items in many English homes.
From Bartmann to Bellarmine
During the 1600s, imported stoneware was overtaken by English production. While English manufacturers were still influenced by German styles and techniques, Bellarmines became truly English in both manufacture and use. Mass production enabled them to become a common household item, used by a wide range of social classes during the seventeenth century.
Formal Dining
Within the homes of the English ‘middling sort’, decorated Bellarmines with lids or stoppers and moulded motifs were used as part of the increasingly formal process of dining. Along with glass and pewter, stoneware pottery was used for drinking beer and decanting wine in the home, and also in taverns. New customs surrounding drinking and leisure, which took place in rooms such as the hall or parlour, were evolving and the developing market catered for this.
Stoneware was manufactured in the Rhineland area of Germany and was first exported in the fourteenth century. This woodcut print shows a German potter at the wheel. Bellarmines are made using a similar process. They vary in colour, determined by the clay used and the salt glaze applied, and can range from yellow and dark brown, grey to bluish tones. Fired at very high temperatures, stoneware vessels are impervious to liquids and are more insulating, for the purpose of storage, than metal and glass.
The bearded mask gives the Bellarmine, also called ‘greybeard’, its name. Derived from the German ‘Bartmannkrug’, the face references northern European ‘wild man’ folklore. The name may also refer to a much-ridiculed figure the anti-Protestant Cardinal Bellarmine (1542–1621).
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