Posted by Penelope Lovesy at 26/07/2020 22:28:02
This week’s featured object is an 18th century Crucifixion Bottle. Our records indicate the bottle’s date is c.1750 and it was created by Thomas Coward, a master mariner from Poole.
Crucifixion Bottles are bottles containing collections of objects symbolising or depicting the crucifixion of Christ. Most commonly, wooden items were placed inside the bottles although stone, metal and fabric have also been found. The bottle was filed with a mixture of water and oil to help preserve the contents but also to magnify them when looking through the glass.
This bottle is an aqua coloured botte with a cork stopper and contains only wooden objects, no liquid. The bottle doesn’t show an entire crucifixion scene but a collection of objects characteristic of crucifixion bottles; a miniature cross in two halves, a ladder, two spears, a sword and a cross-shaped base.
Poole’s shipping records show many ships mastered by a Coward during the second half of the 18th century, but the records do not provide a first name. The marriage registers for St James Church show a marriage between Thomas Coward and Mary Muddle in 1767 and we hold in our collection a release of a property in Hunger Hill to a Thomas Coward, master mariner, and his wife Mary in 1793. Thomas Coward died in 1812 leaving everything to his wife.
This bottle is on display on Poole Museum’s first floor.