Antique Advertising Grocers Dairy Display English PURE MILK Pail JC Van Hunnick c 1900 RARE


Brand Royal Doulton

I am so excited to offer this absolutely amazing piece!  Here is a rare, antique English ceramic ‘PURE MILK’ milk pail with an illustration by Dutch artist JC Van Hunnick, c1900.

Traditionally dairy cows were kept inside the city of London with people buying milk directly from their local owners, who had purchased the exclusive rights to an area called a ‘milk-walk’. The quality was often poor with the animals experiencing poor living environments and dreadful diets, resulting in poor quality milk, that was often further degraded by being topped up with water. In 1865 there was a massive cull in London due to the cattle plague. George Barham founded the ‘Express Country Milk Supply Company’ in 1864, bringing high quality milk from country farms overnight into London. The business prospered and in 1885 it became the ‘Express Dairy Company Limited’ bringing 30,000 gallons of milk into the capital every night which was about one half of London’s needs. He was an inventor, giving us the milk churn and other equipment for the supply, storage and refrigeration of milk, allowing him to reliably transport his milk safely and hygienically, as well as inventions for the production and supply of other dairy products. Around this time the equipment side of the business was separated and became the ‘Dairy Supply Company’ along with 24 retail dairies combined with tea shops. In 1917 the companies merged with other dairy companies to become more efficient in face of the loss of men and horses to the Great War. It is believed that this pail dates to this period, so is not marked as 'Dairy Supply Company.' Research indicates that Doulton produced  much of this ceramic wear, but this piece appears to  have been made by another Staffordshire pottery. These large pails would have been display pieces in the windows of the retail dairies, so were made in very small numbers. 

 This superb piece has been made using a white bodied earthenware with a white ground. It features a rural design of cows and sheep crossing a stream with a herder and two people resting on the opposite hillside nearby. The design is a transfer print which looks like Prattware, with pink and lavender flowers and roses bordering the upper rim all the way around. The pail has the words ‘PURE MILK’ in blue uppercase lettering.  The side opposite the scene is a bouquet of flowers.  The pail has two beautifully moulded handles applied to the sides with embossed detail.  Please study the photos.


The milk pail is being offered in good antique condition.  It is HUGE and measures about 15" in diameter by 11" in height.  I have a similar one in my own kitchen and have only come across these 4 or 5 times in all my buying and selling!

 A very rare, highly collectable piece.