Langnau in the Emmental region developed into an important center for ceramic production in the seventeenth century, influenced especially by several generations of the Hermann family of potters. This sugar bowl from the workshop of Johannes Herrmann (1754–1820) takes its place within a whole series of sugar bowls in diverse shapes. Joined by plates and other tableware, the bowls adorned the rooms and dinner tables of the well-heeled, rural upper and middle class in the Emmental region.
Over one hundred of these three-legged sugar bowls from Langnau still survive today. The bowls from the workshop of Johannes Hermann stand out from those produced by other workshops through their characteristic little feet, grooved ring grips, and twisted vertical handles with leaves at the side. The lid handles take the form of ribbon-shaped volutes accompanied by various birds, which either sit on a pointed knob or in a nest made up of four thick, notched leaves, as in the present case. White dots applied across broad surfaces with the slip trailer are typical. They may be combined with further patterns such as dotted rosettes or even one- or two-tone circles. The small sugar bowl thus bears witness to the economic upturn of this rural region in the Canton of Bern, which around 1800 could already boast a proud, confident, and educated middle and upper class who took for granted partaking daily in coffee with cream and sugar. (Andreas Heege und Franziska Müller-Reissmann)