Unmounted salt-glazed Rhenish or "Tigerware" stoneware pots were unbiquitous in the Tudor household. P. Glanville, op. cit., makes a detailed examination of the trade in such wares and the Tudor fascination with mounting these domestic vessels in silver and silver-gilt. She notes that the city of Exeter alone was importing up to five thousand pots a year by the end of the 16th century.
The fashion for adorning stoneware vessels with silver and silver-gilt mounts, as is so often the case, would appears to have started at the Royal Court. Glanville records that King Henry VIII's cardinal Wolsey and his administrator Thomas Cromwell both possessed such pots in the 1520s. By 1574 the Jewel House contained examples made for the Marquess of Exeter in 1538 and another which had belonged to Edward, Duke of Somerset from 1552. The cost of mounted pots around the time of the manufacture of the Warde pot was in the region of £2 to £3. Margaret, Countess of Rutland paid £2.17s.8d for such a piece in 1551.
Engraving the mounts with a coat-of-arms, initials or a merchants mark was commonplace and a sign of ownership. Relatively few bear enamelled bosses such as that found on the present lot. The Gittings pot in the collection of the Vintners Company, made in 1562, is applied with a boss enamelled with the arms of the Company and David Gittings' merchants mark and is rare having an unbroken provenance.
Thomas Warde, as mentioned above, was the second son of Thomas Warde of Barford. His early education was spent at Eton College. He entered its sister foundation, King's College, Cambridge having been elected a scholar in 1550. He went on to be elected a fellow in 1553, graduating as a BA in 1555 and a MA in 1558. He had started studying medicine in 1552. His early working years were spent translating Continental physicians texts, such as A. Piemont's The Secretes of the Reverende Maister Alexis Piemont: Containing Excellent Remedies Against Divers Diseases and other Accidents, which he published in six volumes over a period of years. He also translated the sermons on John Calvin (1509-1564). It was probably his appointment in 1591 as regius professor of physic at Cambridge that led to him becoming physician to Queen Elizabeth I and King James I. He married twice in 1568 and 1584. He was survived by three sons, William, Thomas and Roger, all of whom are mentioned in his will proved at the Prerogative Court of Canterbury in August 1609 (PROB 11/114). Tantalisingly the will makes reference to 'all and singuler my moveable goodes plate money bookes and utensills', which were to be divided equally between his three sons, but no specific reference is made to the pot itself.