Watering pots and cans - history, video, and a £4,320 sale

Posted on | By Thornton Kay
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North Yorkshire, UK - A glazed terracotta watering pot, or water can, with a rose and top stop, catalogued as 16th century, and 13 1/2ins high, sold to the trade for a four times estimate £4,320 (inc premium) at Tennants fine art sale in November.

The earliest known implement for watering floors or gardens was the glazed fired clay thumb pot, in use from medieval times, when it was known as a 'water can', until the 17th century. This was a simple narrow topped pot with perforated base filled with water and controlled by the thumb placed over the mouth of the pot. Later all pots were made with roses, in copper and then iron or steel.

A few years ago Anne Rowe of The Sugarplum garden antiques in New Hampshire made a video with Martha Stewart about watering cans, from her collection, with tips on value and dating.

The record for a watering pot at auction is held by Sotheby's Billingshurst with a similar pot to that above which sold for £5,040 on 23rd September 2003.

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Story Type: News