Sir John Charles Robinson, C.B., F.S.A. (1824-1913) originally trained as a painter in Paris. He was curator of the Museum of Ornamental Art at Marlborough House. The collection moved in 1857 to the South Kensington Museum, now the Victoria and Albert Museum. Robinson is credited with acquiring thousands of objects for the museum's collection, including two major collections of Italian Renaissance sculpture (the Gherardini collection in 1854 and the Gigli-Campana collection in 1860–61), as well as ceramics. He was also the first president of the Burlington Fine Arts Club.
Robinson lent nine objects to the 1890 Exhibition of The Royal House of Tudor, including two Elizabethan silver-gilt mounted stoneware jugs, an Elizabethan silver-mounted mother-of-pearl bowl, a silver-mounted blue and white porcelain teapot, and two silver cups and covers, circa 1590-1600. The present lot was exhibited in the West Gallery of the New Gallery, Regent Street, London.
The English fashion for drinking beer in silver-mounted stoneware jugs was at its peak when this example was produced. The bodies of these vessels were imported to England from the Rhenish potting centres of Frechen and Cologne for everyday use; however, it was a peculiar custom to mount these useful vessels with valuable silver mounts. The orange-peel texture of the salt-glaze on this example is a characteristic element of wares crafted in Frechen during the mid-16th century. It is widely thought that the salt-glaze resulted from throwing salt into the kiln at the time of firing. It has also been suggested that this unique texture is due to the particular 'quartz-sand structure of the clay' found in Frechen (D. Gaimster, German Stoneware 1200 - 1900 Archaeology and Cultural History, London, 1977, p. 208).