Following last week’s post, There’s Jackfield Afoot, I received the following question: How do you tell the difference between lead glazed redware and Jackfield? Since I asked this question when I was learning to catalog, I thought others may be wondering the same thing.
Redware refers to a coarse earthenware with a reddish body. When cataloging redware, there are a few common types you can expect to come across.
Plain redware has a reddish body, similar to the color of a brick or a terracotta tile, and no glaze. Usually the walls are thick and the vessels have a utilitarian function. Flowerpots are often made from plain redware.
Lead Glazed Redware
Lead glazed redware has a glossy brown, reddish-brown, dark brown, black, or even green finish. The body is a red and, like plain redware, tends to be used for utilitarian vessels, like crocks and bowls.
Trailed slipware is decorated with a white slip. A clear lead glaze is then applied over the slip, giving the slip a yellowish appearance. The designs are often simple and geometric. The body is red and often thick.
Sgrafitto is the reverse of trailed slipware. A thin layer of white slip is applied to the surface and decorations are incised in the slip. A clear lead glaze is then applied to the object. This gives the surface a yellowish appearance. The incised decoration is often more complex than what is seen on trailed slipware vessels, with birds, floral patterns, and other similar motifs.
Jackfield differs from the above types in that the body appears purplish red as opposed to brownish red. The glaze is black and lustrous, often appearing almost metallic. The walls are often thinner than the more industrial lead glazed redwares.
Differentiating between black lead glaze redware and Jackfield
Look at these two objects. Can you tell which one is Jackfield and which is lead glazed redware?
If you guessed that the one on the left is Jackfield, you are correct. Notice that the glaze on the Jackfield lid has a more lustrous sheen than the lead glazed redware. Also note the color of the bodies. The chipped part of the Jackfield lid reveals a dark purple body. The lead glazed redware has a reddish-brown body.
Do you feel that you can confidently identify the different types of redware? Let us know if you have any other cataloging questions.