Posset-pots were most commonly used in the second half of the 17th century but their use gradually died out in the 18th century as punch became a more popular beverage. Dated posset-pots are rare and this one is amongst only a few recorded examples dating from the 1650s or earlier. This posset-pot is typical of those produced during the Interregnum, when they were often sparsely decorated or left in the white. A blue and white example in the Fitzwilliam Museum with the early date of 1631 is illustrated by Louis Lipski and Michael Archer, Dated English Delftware, London, 1984, p. 200, no. 886 where the authors note that 'The earliest posset pots have straight sides, but by 1650 rounded sides are found as frequently, sometimes with a low foot.' An example with a crowned cartouche, initials KG and the date 1651 is illustrated Michael Archer, Delftware in the Fitzwilliam Museum, London, 2013, p. 198, D.14. By the 1670s they became more elaborate in form, some with curled terminals, feet in the shape of birds and high covers with decorative scrolls or crowns. Anthony Ray discusses a very similar posset-pot in the Ashmolean Museum which bears the date 1653 and the initials EM, which he attributes to Southwark (Pickleherring Quay or Montague Close). The present example shares the squat form of the Ashmolean posset-pot and is painted by a similar hand, though interestingly it has the additional ornamentation of a 'pipe-smoking man' motif at the base of the spout, a style of decoration that is also seen on the cartouches of apothecary wares.1 A posset-pot from the Lipski collection decorated with a similar cartouche, inscribed ME and dated 1661 was sold by Sotheby's in London on 10 March 1981, lot 8. Another example, inscribed and dated 1651 and with the arms of the Worshipful Company of Leathersellers was sold in these Rooms on 24 February 2003, lot 1.
1. See Anthony Ray, English Delftware Pottery in the Robert Hall Warren Collection, Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, London, 1968, pp.10-11, cat. no. 2.