A generally buff to light gray, grainy stoneware
body often with small dark inclusions, covered at least partly with
a speckled brown slip and salt glazed. It most commonly occurs on
archaeological sites as drinking vessels and bottles.
Efforts to make salt glazed stoneware had begun in England by the 1650s, if not earlier, but real success was not achieved until ca. 1675, when John Dwight perfected his production of imitations of Rhenish brown stoneware in Fulham . Dwight had secured a patent for his ware in 1672, but other potters soon began copying him (Hildyard 1985:11; Gaimster 1997:309-310; Green 1999:4, 13). Nearly all Fulham-type stoneware found on American sites will date between ca. 1690 and 1775, except perhaps for areas occupied by the British during the Revolutionary War (Noel Hume 1970:114).
A hard, often grainy body which can be partly vitrified, ranging in color from whitish to buff to gray to light brown. Many English brown stonewares have small, dark hematite inclusions in the paste. These inclusions, which have the appearance of finely-ground black pepper, along with the graininess, helps to distinguish them from Rhenish brown stoneware (Green 1999:109; Skerry and Hood 2009:65). Vessels were thrown, and could be turned on a lathe to thin them (Hildyard 1985:20-22).
English Fulham-type stonewares were salt glazed. Pieces were typically dipped in a brown slip which covered all or part of the vessel. Variations in the application of the slip and glaze resulted in overall glaze colors that could range, even on a single vessel, from greenish yellow to yellowish brown to reddish brown to dark brown. On a finished vessel, the brown slip had a more or less "speckled" appearance. Sometimes a white slip, like that used on white salt glazed stonewares, was added to brown stonewares in an effort to whiten them (Hildyard 1985; Green 1999).
The majority of Fulham-type stoneware mugs and bottles were undecorated beyond simple rilled bands or cordons (Green 1999:151; Noël Hume 2001:155). However, decorations did occur. Vessels intended for use in public houses could also be incised with a date and the name of the tavern keeper. By the 1750s or 1760s, molds and printers’ type were being used to add the names, rather than hand incising. Sprig-molded designs also sometimes appear on tankards and jugs, including figures, hunting scenes, buildings, tavern signs and trees (Noël Hume 1970: 113-114; Hildyard 1985:24). Rarer decorations on Fulham-type pieces included engraving, piercing on double-walled vessels, painting with various colors, and stamped medallions (Hildyard 1985; Green 1999).
Drinking vessels for use in commercial establishments were generally stamped with the crowned "WR" (William III) excise mark, although "AR" and "GR" were also used. However, these marks are not always a definitive dating tool, as the WR stamp was used as late as 1876 (Skerry and Hood 2009). Virginia colony potter John Rogers also produced brown salt glaze stoneware from c. 1720 to 1745; his excise marks were rectangular, distinguishing them from the oval British excise marks (Barka 2004; Watkins and Noel Hume 1967).
Drinking vessels, bottles and storage jars were the most common Fulham-type stoneware forms. Mugs and tankards ranged in capacity from 0.25 pints to 2.5 quarts and bottles from one pint to several gallons (Noël Hume 1970: 113-114; Gaimster 1997: 320; Green 1999:17; Skerry and Hood 2009:68). Mugs could be globular (also called gorges and produced c. 1690-1740) or straight sided (c. 1690 through the 18th century), and some tankards had pouring lips (Hildyard 1985; Green 1999:153). Bottles were produced in two primary shapes; earlier bottles were globular in shape, while bottles from the late 18th century tended to be ovoid, with short necks and plain rims (Skerry and Hood 2009:68, 70). Ovoid and straight sided storage jars were used as all-purpose containers for wet and dry foodstuffs (Skerry and Hood 2009:783). Jugs, drug jars, pipkins, bowls, and tea and coffee services were among the other forms produced (Hildyard 1985; Green 1999; Noël Hume 2001). Early Fulham-type vessels copied German forms, but had moved away from this by the 18th century. These included the Bartmann-type bottles, which were made for only for a few years (Hildyard 1985; Gaimster 1997:311; Green 1999:17). In the 19th century, a wide variety of specialized forms were produced (Green 1999).
Barka 2004; Gaimster 1997; Green 1999; Hildyard 1985; Noël
Hume 1970, 2001; Skerry and Hood 2009; Watkins
and Noël Hume 1967.
Although brown stoneware drinking and serving vessels made in imitation of German stoneware have become known as "Fulham wares" because of their association with John Dwight of Fulham, similar pieces were made elsewhere in England, including Greater London, Bristol, and Staffordshire (Noël Hume 1970:113; Hildyard 1985). Large quantities of Rhenish stoneware were imported into England in the 17th century, but by 1700 English manufacturers had captured much of the domestic market for brown stoneware (Green 1999:3). By ca. 1730, American potters, including at least one in Virginia, were producing brown stoneware that was often indistinguishable from the English Fulham-type (Watkins and Noël Hume 1967). John Dwight also produced limited quantities of imitations of Rhenish blue and gray stoneware (Hildyard 1985:32).