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Pottery urn, Staffordshire, England, 1801-1900

Decorated with biblical scenes, this gilt pottery urn is believed to have been designed to hold a person’s ashes after cremation. Burial was the standard for body disposal in Britain until well into the 1800s. Cremations were illegal for much of the century. The first authorised service took place in 1885. The urn was probably made by Davenport, a ceramic manufacturer in the Staffordshire area of England called the Potteries.

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Glossary: cinerary urn

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Glossary: mortality

The number of deaths which occur in a given area or period, from a particular disease, etc.; the average frequency of death; death rate.