A Very Decorative Early 20thC Polychrome Hand-Painted Oak Fishmongers Bucket


Origin: English
Period: Early Twentieth Century
Provenance: Unknown
Date: c.1910
Top Diameter: 9 inches
Height: 10 inches

The black-japanned oak bucket beautifully externally painted with the lettering “Edmund Heap…Fishmonger…Billingsgate” formed in seventeenth century style scripts, with further painted rainbow trout to the lower section with metal swing and ebonised oak handle, the interior constructed of segmented tapering oak sections.

Condition is very good, there is some wear and small areas of loss in places to the japanning but this is entirely commensurate with age. The paintwork is in good order and the bucket appears to be in very original overall order.

Billingsgate market was originally a general market for the likes of corn, coal, iron, wine, salt, pottery, fish and miscellaneous goods and does not seem to have become associated exclusively with the fish trade until the sixteenth century. In the nineteenth century, the Market moved to Lower Thames Street, before relocating to Docklands in the 1980s and today, the Market is Great Britain’s largest inland fish market, and sells fish from around the world.

After some further investigations, our intelligent guess as to Mr Edmund Heap’s identity is that he was born in 1887 in Burnley, Lancashire and was a Cotton Weaver and Fish Hawker who had connections in London, but this connection aside, we cannot be sure as to the fishmonger in question.

Fish guts aside, this is a wonderfully ornamental throwback that has masses of appeal to foodies, those interested in advertising, or simply folk searching for that supremely original decorative gastro-themed effect.