Featured Stein: January 2014
~ The Four Seasons Stein from Amberg/Hirschau ~
By Roy De Selms, SCI Master Steinologist

This month's featured stein, ca. mid 1800s, is unmarked, but most likely comes from one of the neighboring towns of Amberg or Hirschau in the region of Thüringia, Germany. The dominant manufactories there were E. Kick of Amberg and Dorfner of Hirschau and neither firm made salt-glazed stoneware. This stein has a thick white slip glaze over a molded stoneware body. There are many formulas for each type of ceramic, i.e. porcelain, stoneware, earthenware, etc. because each factory had its own way of doing things. In my estimation this stein is in a category between earthenware and stoneware, but much closer to stoneware although others have referred to it as earthenware.
Summer Autumn Winter
This particular stein has a design deviating from the usual Ludwig Foltz II-Mettlach designs. The design was copied from a series of Terracotta plaques designed by the famous artist, Bertel Thorwaldsen, in 1836 and made by Villeroy & Boch for King Wilhelm von Württemberg in 1841 for his summer palace and now reside in the Württembergisches Landesmuseum in Stuttgart. The plaques are probably one of a kind and might be considered the very first Mettlach plaques. Die Vier Jahreszeiten (the four seasons of the year) Frühling (Spring), Sommer (Summer), Herbst (Harvest or Autumn) and Winter (Winter) are portrayed as four stages of life from childhood to old age.
An article substantiating the provenance of this type of stein is expected to appear in Prosit in the near future.

This article is presented compliments of Erste Gruppe.
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