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Jug with Gretna Green & Falstaff scenes: C.6-1985

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Object information

Current Location: In storage


Jug with Gretna Green & Falstaff scenes


Factory: Copeland & Garrett




Brown, press-moulded and smear-glazed stoneware jug with sprigged decoration.

Press-moulded jug of lobed form with shaped rim, high lip and scroll handle. On one side a sprigged relief of 'The Marriage at Gretna Green'; on the other, 'Falstaff in the Linen Basket'; on the front, below the lip, a hound in front of a tree. The handle has a scrolled thumb piece. The underside is slightly recessed and glazed, within a wavy-edged footrim.


History note: Unknown before A.H. Palmer

Legal notes

Bequeathed by A H Palmer

Measurements and weight

Height: 18.7 cm

Place(s) associated

  • Stoke-on-Trent ⪼ Staffordshire ⪼ England

Acquisition and important dates

Method of acquisition: Bequeathed (1985) by Palmer, A. H.


19th Century, third quarter#
William IV
Circa 1833 CE - 1840 CE


Copeland & Garrett was formed by William Taylor Copeland, with Thomas Garrett, in 1833. The new firm brought in his father’s business and Spode’s Stoke on Trent factory London warehouse and continued in family ownership until 1966. Sprig moulds purchased by Spode from William Turner in 1829 include both ‘Marriage’ and the ‘Falstaff’ scenes similar to those used for this jug, which was produced in different clays, including an off-white version. Meanwhile, Copeland was a Member of Parliament for 25 years and took an interest in the development of provincial art schools, and while this jug was in production, he was Lord Mayor of London (1935-36).

Relief moulded jugs were popular in mid 19th Century homes, where they were used for water, beer, milk and other liquids which might now be kept in bottles, cans or plastic jars. The smear-glazing makes the most of the way that colour-stained clays show off crisply-moulded ornament, the stoneware is sufficiently durable for everyday use and two piece press-moulding was a relatively inexpensive process. Here the glazing also helps to obscure the join of sprig to body. There are several relief moulded jugs in the Fitzwilliam Collection. The earliest recorded examples of this type date from c.1820 (see C.48-1981) and they were widely available from the early 1930s.

The images on this jug would have been taken from contemporary engravings: versions of both scenes were popular throughout the century. 'Falstaff in the Linen Basket' comes from Shakespeare’s ‘Merry Wives of Windsor’ Act III, scene 3. The scene was perhaps selected for its moral message, since it records Falstaff’s ‘washing’ as a punishment for lascivious behaviour. ‘The Marriage at Gretna Green’ shows a marriage taking place in a blacksmith’s forge. Gretna Green on the Scottish borders, was a popular venue for runaway weddings following the 1754 Marriage Act, which required parental consent for those marrying under the age of 21 in England; in Scotland boys could still legally marry at 14 and girls at 12. A later painting by Edward J Halliday, ‘The Ceremony at Gretna Green’, 1907, in the Compton Verney Collection, clearly comes from the same original source.

People, subjects and objects depicted

Components of the work

Handle To Spout Width 16.8 cm

Materials used in production


Techniques used in production

Press-moulding : Dark buff, press moulded and smear-glazed stoneware

Inscription or legends present

Inscription present: ‘COPELAND & GARRETT’ circular , ‘LATE SPODE’ across the middle, ‘31’ below

  • Method of creation: Impressed
  • Type: Mark
  • Text: 12
  • Method of creation: Impressed
  • Type: Mark

References and bibliographic entries

Identification numbers

Accession number: C.6-1985
Primary reference Number: 75678
Stable URI

Audit data

Created: Saturday 6 August 2011 Updated: Wednesday 15 July 2020 Last processed: Friday 8 December 2023

Associated departments & institutions

Owner or interested party: The Fitzwilliam Museum
Associated department: Applied Arts

Citation for print

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The Fitzwilliam Museum (2024) "Jug with Gretna Green & Falstaff scenes" Web page available at: Accessed: 2024-04-18 23:26:55

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