She has some nice jugs….

I sure do! if you clicked on this and didn’t expect literal Jugs than you’re a creep. On ya bike!

I’ve almost completed the squirrel away and declutter mission and have changed out some display pieces. It feels so good and I feel lighter, the house is clearer and just feels great and not oppressive like an old great explorers cabinet of curiosities.

my article today is on a pair of jugs I adore. I say a pair because I love the quirky way they just fit together, but they are not a pair… The are the same decade, near enough the same glaze treatment, but unmistakably by different manufacturers.


They are so quirky in design they look modern and could fit in with any interior. Finished in a classic creamy off-white glaze that in my opinion – will never go out of fashion, these pieces actually date from around the 1940’s.

The one in the foreground with the Ivy relief was made by Burleigh Ware in approximately 1940-45. It sports a 360 degree high relief design of spiralling Ivy leaves and has been attributed to Art deco style. It’s original intended purpose was as a water pitcher. The backstamp used on the base puts this piece as being manufactured after the introduction of the stamp in 1940. The pattern number is 203. It is a thick-walled ceramic jug which would have been fired in the kilns of Burgess & Leigh Ltd under the name of Burleigh Ware in Burslem England.

When I brought this a few years ago, I had never seen anything like it before and it was almost impossible to find any history, or examples online. Nowadays it seems that many examples have come out of the woodwork and are available for very reasonable prices. Although the low prices could also be attributed to the funky muddy and dated glazes – fair cop that they won’t be to everyones taste.


The next jug is also a wartime creation and like it’s buddy it is also attributed to the style of art deco. However this one is a little different in its pedigree.


This is a Beswick jug, pattern number 424 and back stamped with the Beswick mark. I have found it very difficult (rephrase – near impossible) to find another example of this shape with a Beswick stamp on the base as this jug was originally produced by Beswick from 1934 – 1941 backstamped with the name Tretham Art Ware under contract with a retailer in Nottingham. After the contract ended Beswick continued the shape,  however through a lot of research it seems majority of the post 41 editions do not seem to carry any back stamp at all. Making this one a possible rarity…. And it also part way explains the hard to find status.

Like the fore mentioned jug, this example was also released in all manner of crazy glazes fit for the fashion at the time, and it is reflected in the price today. Not the flavour of the month. But fashion and trends are cyclical so they will have their day again.

The interesting and common thread between these two pieces is that of the understated decoration. During wartime between 1939 and 1945 ceramic producers in the UK were encouraged to minimise decoration for the local market pieces as it was a time of austerity. Out of this encouraged restraint came new opportunities.

“the company seized new opportunities to export to the growing overseas markets of the U.S.A., Canada, Australia and New Zealand. Goods for export were officially encouraged to be more highly decorated than those available in the U.K. and during this time 80% of Beswick’s output went to export.” -Decorative Antiques (UK) .

It’s funny because I think the coloured and mottled glazes really detract from the decorative shapes. As it is really hard to appreciate the beautiful and deliberate shape under all that muddy murky slip.

I just adore my restrained wartime beauties!