Brothers John Philip and David Elers were Dutch silversmiths came to London in the 1680s and worked at Vauxhall in London, and from around 1691, at Bradwell Wood in Staffordshire, where their pottery was last recorded in 1697. A number of contemporary and later accounts describe the fine red stonewares produced by the Elers during their short tenure in the potteries. These are cited in full by Gordon Elliott in his monograph, op. cit. where he discusses the distinctive group of slip-cast and lathe-turned wares, which are, despite the absence of any firm documentary or archeological evidence, attributed to the brothers.
The distinctive group of fine red stonewares, including the present example, was first identified and attributed to the Elers brothers, by W.B. Honey in 'Elers Ware', English Ceramic Circle Transactions, No. 2, 1934, pp. 7-16, where the author discusses the unique enamel decoration as possibly being the work of "independent Dutch decorators". The white decoration was further discussed by Bernard Rackham, 'A Dated Staffordshire Mug in the National Museum of Wales, Cardiff', English Ceramic Circle Transactions, Vol. 2, No. 8, pp. 145-148, who agrees that the enameling was by a Dutch or a German artist. This subject was most recently addressed by Errol Manners in his paper 'The English Decoration of Oriental Porcelain, Some Overlooked Groups 1700-1750', English Ceramic Circle Transactions, Vol. 19, Part 1, 2005, pp. 1-28, where the author categorizes the decoration into three groups and comments on the present example's enameling "contrasting curiously with the careful finish of the potting."
English enameling first features on stoneware bodies, for which see the London brown stoneware mug enameled with a 'jumping boy' and leaping hare, further embellished with gilding, now in the Chipstone Foundation, Milwaukee, previously in the Bertram K. Little and Nina Fletcher Little Collection, sold, Sotheby's, New York, October 21-22, 1994, lot 523 (fig. 1.) The next is a small group of Elers red stone wares to which the present lot belongs, and a teapot from the Harriet Goldweitz Collection, sold, Sotheby's, New York, January 20, 2005, lot 29 (fig. 2.) As Manners states the third and most coherent is a group of brown stonewares of the early 18th century, for which see the tankard painted with the Arms of the Worshipful Company of Bricklayers and Tylers, lot 604 in this sale (fig. 3)
A second Elers red stoneware mug of this small size, without enamel decoration, was lent by F. H. Garner for the English Ceramic Circle 1948 Exhibition, illustrated in Commemorative Catalogue of an Exhibition of English Pottery and Porcelain, exhibition catalogue, London, 1949, pl. 11, no. 42.