This curious 20 cm high stoneware bottle has a pouring lip shaped like a tricorn hat. Underneath, two holes and a vertical protusion form a rudimentary face. The many-ridged collar, and the moulded and pierced decoration at the front, give the impression of a uniform or formal dress in 17th or 18th century style.
I find it very endearing, possibly because it is a fully functional form that has been anthropomorphised through delicate touches, rather than a head vase, half human, half functional. The austere expression, cloaked body and sober colouring imbue it with an identity that goes beyond caricature.
I imagine that there are more pieces like this around, and would be pleased to find out who the maker is. The impressed monogram at the base reads ‘IC’, or ‘TD’, or similar.
Chris Myers has now identified this piece as one of Josef Szirer’s works (see comments).