On June 25th, 1624, Katherine Paston wrote to her son, a student at Cambridge: 'I hope thou dost not eat of those possety curdy drinks, which howsoever pleasing to the palate it may be for a time, yet I am persuaded are most unwholesome and very clogging to the stomach', as quoted in David Booy, Personal Disclosures: An Anthology of Self-Writings from the Seventeenth Century. Posset was a thickened alcoholic beverage made with milk that was curdled with wine or another liquor. It was served and drunk warm or hot. As per Michael Archer, Delftware, The Tin-glazed Earthenware of the British Isles, p. 261, it was taken either for its medicinal benefits or for festive purposes.
There are numerous variations in the form and decoration of posset pots of this period. Mostly the bodies are of bulbous or cylindrical shapes with variations in the handles, knobs of the covers and decoration. Undecorated posset pot examples are either decorated in relief with bosses or are plain. Michael Archer illustrates three white examples in Delftware, The Tin-glazed Earthenware of the British Isles, cat. no. D. 10- 12, where he attributes them all to London. Another example decorated with pushed-out bosses and dated 1651 within a cartouche is illustrated by Michael Archer, Delftware in the Fitzwilliam Museum, cat. no. D. 14, p. 198, where the author mentions that fragments of pieces with the embossed decoration were found at the Pickleherring and Rotherhithe pottery sites.
There appear to be no other published examples with the lobed decoration as in the present example. A similar example of the same form and height was sold at Sotheby's London, February 25th, 1986, lot 43.