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Fluted pewter jug, probably Italian, 18th or 19th century.

Fluted pewter jug, probably Italian, 18th or 19th century.
4 0 c m
actual image size: 26cm x 32cm


Rococo style pewter jug, with an ornate handle and a base which unscrews. Pewter is a soft alloy consisting of 80-90 per cent tin, and 10-20 per cent lead. It is easy to engrave, and unlike silver, is resistant to tarnishing with age. It sometimes includes small quantities of antimony to add hardnes, or copper if a softer alloy is required. During the Middle Ages pewter was used to make practical items such as plates, bowls and drinking vesels, and objects made from it were highly prized. Pewter made by British craftsmen had a particular reputation for quality. In the 18th and 19th centuries alternative materials such as glas and China superseded pewter for making utensils for everyday use, and today it is generally only used for decorative wares.

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© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library

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