1601-1900 in Europe

Buy this image as a print 

License this image for commercial use at Science and Society Picture Library

Science Museum Group Collection
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Earthenware gotlschussel or porringer, polychrome, European

Porringers are small food bowls used for porridge. They usually have one or two handles and are made in a range of materials. They were often used when feeding the sick or elderly.

This example is made of glazed earthenware and is decorated with a picture of St Barbara who is believed to protect against various diseases and is also the patron saint of those faced with sudden death by lightning, collapsing mines and cannon-balls. The story goes that she converted to Christianity much to the anger of her father who tried to kill her. She was saved when her father was hit by lightning. There is a small lightning bolt in the top left of the bowl. Porringers may also have been used in bloodletting.

Related people


Nursing & Hospital Furnishings
Object Number:
  • furnishing and equipment
  • container - receptacle
  • dish - vessel
Colli, G.

Cite this page


We encourage the use and reuse of our collection data.

Data in the title, made, maker and details fields are released under Creative Commons Zero

Descriptions and all other text content are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 licence

Using our data


Download catalogue entry as json

Download manifest IIIF

Our records are constantly being enhanced and improved, but please note that we cannot guarantee the accuracy of any information shown on this website.