The Catalogue: Slipware

Slipware- Archaeological Services Inc
Photographed by Archaeological Services Inc

The Catalogue is a collection of artifact-related posts from professional social media accounts.

Slipware is a mid-17th and 18th century dishware known for its use of slip trailing. Clay slip was poured, dipped or marbled over buff earthenware to create contrasting colors, shapes and geometric lines. Slipware originated during Medieval Europe but was later revived by English potters and exported across the Atlantic.

Each region used slip trailing differently, resulting in a wide range of styles. For example, potters in North Devon and Somerset scratched through a colored slip to expose the contrasting body(sgraffto). Essex potters applied lines or dots and Staffordshire joggled wet slips to create a marbling effect.

Other slipware styles include mochaware- a broad paneled style with tree stained motifs, cat’s eye and cabled- colorful swirls around the body, as well as dipped ware- lines of various widths applied with a blowing pot. For more examples, revisit Historic Slipware Bowl- Shenandoah Valley, VA and Slipware Sherd- Apalachicola, FL on American Artifacts Blog.


  • White, Harriet. “The problem of provenancing English post-medieval slipwares: a chemical and petrographic approach.” Post-Medieval Archaeology 46.1 (2012): 56-69.
  • Erickson, Michelle, and Robert Hunter. “Dots, Dashes, and Squiggles: Early English Slipware Technology.” Ceramics in America (2001): 94-114.

U.S. and Canadian Archaeologists featuring Slipware Ceramics