An important, mid-18th century English delftware cistern

September 18, 2019 2:40 pm Published by

The pear-shaped body with five bands of ‘mimosa pattern’ flower clusters. The aperture fitted with a later brass tap with bone handle. Decorated in blue on a pale blue glaze. Restoration to two small rim breaks. Probably Wincanton, or London, second quarter of the 18th century. 2064403.

Reference: There is no other, known, example of a water cistern decorated with the ‘mimosa pattern’.
Horne no. 331 and Atkins no. 18/1994 for recorded examples of English delftware water cisterns.
Irish Delftware (Castletown) nos 11, 12 (provenance Lipski Collection) and 13 for recorded examples of Irish water cisterns.

Height: 28.00 cm./11.00 in., Diameter: 35.00 cm./14.00 in.

Given its type, decoration, function and surviving condition, this is an exceptionally rare and important piece of English delftware. The mimosa pattern decorating this piece is also rare.

It is not certain for what purposes these cisterns were used. It is most probable that they were used as a fountain, although they could have been used for the rinsing of hands or for wine. It is most likely that they are the fore-runners of the well-known patent filters of the 19th century where sand and chemicals were used to purify and hold a small reservoir of drinking water, something easily understood to be necessary in those days of primitive santitation.

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This post was written by joecollinson