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Tankard (Schnelle) with the Royal Coat of Arms of England and Spain

1573
Hans Hilgers (probably Johann Hilgers Knütgen), German (active Siegburg), active 1570 - 1590s

First produced in Europe in the German Rhineland and eastern Netherlands in the 1200s, stoneware, a ceramic that when fired to high temperatures becomes impervious to liquids, was an ideal material for drinking vessels. The abbey town of Siegburg, Germany, became an important center for stoneware production in the 1300s, and tankards decorated with refined Renaissance designs became its specialty.



The shields on this imposing tankard present the coats of arms of the kings of England on two panels and the combined royal arms of Spain and the Netherlands on the other, with Michael the Archangel slaying the devil beneath. The initials "H H" beneath the arms of England is the signature of Hans Hilgers, a member of the Knütgen family of potters, who operated important workshops in Siegburg. Coats of arms were a popular decoration from the 1570s in this center; such decoration perhaps increased the appeal of Siegburg wares in export markets.

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Object Details

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