Two Frechen bottles

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Two Frechen bottles

The kilns at Frechen near Cologne specialised in producing jugs and bottles with mottled brown salt glaze. They were decorated with face-masks and badges. In Britain the masks are often called Bellarmines in the belief that they satirized the Roman Catholic Cardinal Bellarmine. In fact such masks had been made long before his time. With the passage of time the style of the face-mask becomes increasingly grumpy. These two vessels were made at Frechen in the period c. 1540-80. Each displays on the neck the traditional mask of a bearded man (Bartmann). That to the right has a central frieze of classical ornament within which are winged figures holding small medallions, flanked by alternating masks in roundels and acanthus leaves. To its left is a jug of rather later date with three armorial badges.

Acknowledgments: RAM Museum Exeter Archaeology

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