Baluster Measure, cast pewter

Baluster Measure, cast pewter

Baluster Measure

Cast pewter
England, 1550-1600
Maker's touch 'F' between two stags (unidentified), house mark of a bishop with mitre and 'NE', verification mark 'HR' below a crown
Pleydell-Bouverie gift

Measures are among the most commonly surviving pewter vessels. They were used in taverns to carry set quantities of wine and ale from barrels to the table.

This baluster measure was dug up in Parliament Street, Westminster, in 1903. Its ball and wedge thumb-piece and narrow 'waisted' profile suggest a 16th-century date. The 'bishop and mitre' ownership marks struck repeatedly on the lid and body may refer to the name of a tavern such as the Mitre or Bishop's Head.

Baluster measures were usually made from low-quality pewter with a higher lead content.Their distinctive shape probably comes from earlier examples made of pottery and leather. Measures varied in style and capacity according to local regulations. The crowned 'HR' mark shows that this measure passed inspection by a local authority.