For eating and drinking, Roman Londoners used pottery with a much better finish than contemporary coarsewares. Made from more refined clay, these finewares were often coated with colourful slips. Painted or trailed clay designs (barbotine) were frequently added before firing. The Museum's fineware collection is large, illustrating many different styles.
Samian or metalwork often influenced the design of finewares. Some potters made samian-type bowls that were black rather than red (see London ware). Others produced distinctive flagons and pans that were sprinkled with gold-coloured mica so as to gleam like copper (see Local Mica-dusted wares).
Many fineware factories concentrated on beakers and flagons, shapes that were seldom produced in samian. Globular beakers, tapering to a narrow mouth, were especially popular from the late 2nd century onwards. They were richly decorated with mottos and floral or animal scenes.
In the 1st and 2nd centuries, finewares were mostly imported from specialised factories in Gaul or Germany. Later, London was supplied by British industries that often produced coarsewares as well. Oxfordshire, for instance, supplied white mortaria alongside red tablewares that extended the samian tradition into the 4th century.
|Central Gaulish and Rhenish wares (43 - 410)|
|London wares (43 - 410)|
|Local Mica-dusted wares (43 - 410)|
|Lyon and other first century imported wares (43 - 410)|
|Colchester wares (43 - 410)|
|Nene Valley wares (43 - 410)|
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