English delftware polychrome posset pot by Unknown Artist

Dating back at least as far as the 1400s, posset was a warm drink of spiced milk curdled with wine or ale, often served at celebratory events.


Earthenware and tin glaze
16 x 26cm
Art Fund grant:
£16,172 ( Total: £37,500)
Acquired in:

From the early 17th century it was often served in a specially designed pot, with a spout to pour out the alcoholic liquid, and a lid that could be lifted to reveal the custard and foam on top, which was eaten with a spoon. The popularity of posset pots was short-lived, as the role of posset in celebrations was superseded by punch from the late 17th century. Delftware posset pots are known from 1631 to 1766, but most were painted in one or two colours. This 1695 example with five-colour polychrome decoration is almost unique. Its design shows influences of Chinese porcelain and Japanese kakiemon ware, which were supplied to the Dutch from the 1659 and subsequently spread to London’s Delftware potteries. The pot features a bulbous body with two snake-like handles and a spout, decorated with floral patterns, bird motifs and insect designs.


John Eliot Hodgkin collection; sold Sotheby's, 1903; Sold Bentley's Auction Rooms, Kent, 2012; Stephen McManus.

Venue details

The Geffrye Museum of the Home 136 Kingsland Road, Hoxton, London London E2 8EA 020 7739 9893 www.geffrye-museum.org.uk

Entry details

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