I received an email asking for help in regards to two parrot jugs, purchased at an auction in Australia. The pieces have been described simply as “German Bisque Porcelain”.
A quick search on ebay revealed that a number of similar vintage jugs are currently being sold in America and the UK. However, I could not find a parrot jug on the German ebay site (with a listing of 2000 jugs). Therefore, I believe these exotic bird novelty jugs have been mainly produced for the export market. Czechoslovakia also produced a large quantity of animal jugs, such as cows, mooses and parrots.
Dating them is difficult without the possibility of pinpointing a manufacturer. American import restrictions (The McKinley Tariff Act) required all companies to print the country of origin and “Germany” was used from c.1885 onwards. The colourful ‘art deco’ design of the jugs date these pieces into the first half of the 20th century (pre WWII), c.1920-1935.
On a technical note: the description “Bisque” is misleading, relating to the French term “Biscuit”, first used in the 18th century. It implies an unglazed sugar like surface and is now commonly used as a description for vintage dolls. The European ceramic industry of the 19th and early 20th century was extremely inventive when it came to techniques and clay bodies. If these jugs are made out of porcelain, it’s more accurate to describe the jugs as soft-paste porcelain.
Please leave a comment, if you know the company, or can help with more information.