fuddling cup consists of three small cups with interlinked handles. It
is made of pale unglazed clay. You can see the horizontal bands on each
cup where they have been turned on a wheel before being joined together.
These cups have faces of three men, with eyes and beards and rows of
dots to mark out eyebrows and moustache.
Can you find any other face pots on objectlessons?
fuddling cup is not just decorative as the interlinked cup system
worked as a mixing vessel. You can’t see from the image but inside the
cups a hole has been pierced that links each to the adjacent one. Different
liquids could be put in two of the sections and the combined brew drunk
from the third. Perhaps a herbal blend in one or part and water in the
other to make a tissane? In the past milk and brandy would be combined
for medicinal purposes, but milk curdles in alcohol. By
using the fuddling cups you could put milk in one section and brandy in
the other and drink a cocktail from the third cup. The fuddling cup was
sometimes known as called a puzzle cup because of the ‘puzzle’ to drink
from one cup without spilling the contents of the other chambers. And
fuddling means to confuse and, sometimes, to intoxicate. We still use
the word ‘befuddle’.
The clay surface of this replica is quite rough– it doesn’t feel that nice to drink from. In the West Country in the 17th and 18th centuries, these vessels were made in tin-glazed earthenware.