A truly extraordinary example of Chinese export porcelain made for the American market, this beautiful pair of covered pots-de-cremes is from a service made for our third, and one of our greatest, American presidents, Thomas Jefferson. The pattern-a simple underglaze blue spearhead border with gilded highlights, typical of the aesthetic of the Federal period-is augmented with an armorial crest surmounted by knight’s helmet flanked by flourishes and bellflower swags above a shield centered with a gilded initial J. With a long history of descent in the Jefferson family, this service was auctioned off after Jefferson’s death in 1826 by his granddaughter Ellen Wayles Randolph, part of a massive sale of personal property made necessary by the staggering debt in which Jefferson left his estate. The service was later reacquired by Ellen Randolph’s grandson for the family and pieces were eventually lent out to various public collections for exhibition; four pieces were donated to the White House in 1906 and are still in their possession. It has been suggested that Governor and Mrs. Christopher Gore of Massachusetts, while on a diplomatic mission to London, ordered the service for President Jefferson as they ordered an identical one for themselves with the initial G. With many thanks to Becky McGuire, Christies, New York for her research. This specific pair of pots-de-creme has a history of descent in the family of Thomas Jefferson Coolidge of Boston. Both pieces in fine condition, measuring 3″ tall. Circa 1800-1810.
A very beautiful Chinese export porcelain 9″ lotus-form dish decorated in Famille Verte enamels with a central scene of flowering peony amongst rockwork, the theme continued on a smaller scale filling each lotus petal panel around the rim of the dish. We have had these dishes with the design painted in underglaze blue many times over the past years but this is the first example we’ve enjoyed in this striking color palette. Measuring 9″ across, and with two pieces out of the rim of restored perfectly, otherwise fine condition. Circa 1700-1710.
A beautiful Chinese export porcelain armorial platter and mazzarene, measuring 13″ x 16″, finely hand-painted in vibrant Famille Rose enamels with courtly Mandarin scenes, both scenes centered at the top with the Grant coat-of arms, and both with an outer border with elaborately rendered flowers and butterflies. Made to delight and impress with its richness, from a service most likely made for Sir William Grant who married in 1811. Illustrated and discussed in Howard’s Chinese Armorial Porcelain, vol. I, page 1002. In very good condition, circa 1815-1820.
With a rather rare American ship decoration, this fine Chinese export porcelain punch bowl is centered front and back with a hand-painted image of a three-masted frigate or sloop flying what is referred to as a Jack Flag with a navy blue ground with gold stars. This flag was flown on our ships from 1777 until 1916 and designated the presence of an ambassador or minister of the diplomatic corps on board. This bowl has a mate in the Reeves Collection and is illustrated and discussed on page 212 of Thomas Litzenburg, Jr.’s book Chinese Export Porcelain in the Reeves Collection at Washington and Lee University. Measuring 10 1/4″ in diameter and dating to circa 1795. Two lines and restoration.
A fine Chinese export porcelain Yongzheng period plate, hand-painted with Famille Rose enamels with a scene of a pair of pheasants perched amongst rockwork and flowering peony within a finely rendered gilded foliate cavetto, the rim with flowering branches and butterflies. The pheasant was the symbol of refinement and would have been a perfect choice of subject for such a refined piece as this with it’s muted tones and perfectly balanced white space-all so typical of the Yongzheng period. The plate measuring 9″ in diameter and, other than a Y-shaped line to the glaze on the reverse, it is in good condition. Circa 1730-35.
A nice example of Chinese export porcelain made for the American market, this dome-shouldered tea caddy is hand-painted on both sides with an image of a three-masted ship under sail, proudly flying two American flags. Small restoration to cover and neck, otherwise good condition. Measuring 4 1/4″ tall x 3″ wide. Circa 1800.
A very elegant Yongzheng period, Chinese export porcelain tea bowl and saucer, very thinly potted with scrolling gilded foliate borders, both pieces centered with meticulously painted armorial of very elaborate design representing the Arms of Baker quartering Cholmley impaling Bateman. David Howard suggests that this service was most likely made for Richard Baker who purchased the estate of Orsett Hall in Essex about 1747. This is one of four services ordered with these arms which demonstrates the prestige and status of Chinese porcelain in English-and European- society at this time. Circa 1735. The saucer measuring 4 1/2″ in diameter and both pieces in very good condition. Illustrated and discussed in Howard’s Chinese Armorial Porcelain, Vol. I, page 294. Formerly in the K.R. Rizk Collection.
A very handsome pair of Chinese export porcelain octagonal form plates, meticulously hand-painted en grisaille with the Arms of Vaughan impaling Hallowell within an elaborate rococo style cartouche and inscribed beneath Samuel Vaughan, the plate rims with delicate bird and landscape vignettes. This is one of three services made for this family and it holds both interesting English and American connections. Samuel Vaughan was a wealthy merchant and Jamaican plantation owner who married Sarah Hallowell of Boston in 1747. Their son, Benjamin Vaughan, though he couldn’t attend elite schools in England because the family were Unitarians, managed to be tutored by famous scientist Joseph Priestly and later graduated from Edinburgh University with a degree in medicine. By the time he had immigrated to Hallowell, Maine in 1799 to land inherited from his mother, he had made the acquaintance of Benjamin Franklin, John Jay and John Adams. Living in remote Maine, he managed to keep a library of similar size to Harvard’s and he garnered degrees from both Harvard and Bowdoin College. The plates are in remarkably fine condition, with virtually no wear to the delicate grisaille decoration which was finely rendered to resemble the bookplate engraving that had been sent to Canton to copy. The bookplate, which is in fine condition and suitably framed, is not only an interesting design source pertaining to the commission of the dinner service, but itself was designed by Thomas Chippendale! The plates are illustrated and discussed in Schiffer’s China for America, page 34, as well as Howard’s Chinese Armorial Porcelain, vol. I, page 359. From a private Boston, Beacon Hill collection. Circa 1750.
A charming little object, this finely potted Chinese export porcelain tea bowl is decorated in the rare “Plume” pattern in iron red against a black diapered ground. This is one of two versions of this design; the other can be found in lavender and yellow enamels. Both versions were after a small group of designs commissioned by the Dutch East India Company from Dutch artist Cornelius Pronk, to be sent to China and reproduced on porcelain. This is one of the few instances where we can trace a Chinese porcelain design back to an actual European source. Very good condition. Circa 1745.
A fine Chinese export porcelain armorial tea bowl and saucer very well-painted in Famille Rose enamels with gilded spearhead border, both pieces bearing the Arms of Barrington, Viscount Barrington, with Lovell in pretence. This specific service was made for the 2nd Viscount Barrington, William Wildman (1717-1793) who occupied several high positions in government including Secretary of War and Chancellor of the Exchequer. The viscount’s crown figures predominantly as the crest of the arms and on the reverse of the tea bowl. Minor frits filled and two lines to the saucer and one to the tea bowl sealed, otherwise good condition. Illustrated and discussed in Howard’s Chinese Export Porcelain, Vol. II, page 300. This piece formerly in the K. R. Rizk Collection. Circa 1745.