- Museum number
Pair of covered 'grisaille'-and-gold painted cups with an English coat of arms. The deep cups each are supported on a bell-shaped foot, their handles made of twisted strands of clay with applied leaf terminals and their covers with applied berry knobs. They are decorated in 'grisaille' and gold with a coat of arms on either side, divided into quarters, each section with a fleur-de-lis, and with floral garlands and a chain border around the rim, the foot and the cover.
- Production date
- 1765-1780 (circa)
Height: 26.50 centimetres
Width: 22 centimetres (including handles)
Depth: 15 centimetres
- Curator's comments
- Harrison-Hall and Krahl 1994:
The coat of arms belongs to Sir Joseph Banks (1743-1820), a celebrated naturalist and son of a wealthy merchant who became president of the prestigious Royal Society in 1778 and a Baronet in 1781 (Howard, 1974, p. 360). Banks was also interested in Chinese botany and wildlife; some of the Chinese watercolours of plants which he commissioned are in the Natural History Museum, London. The armorial design on both cups was copied from an engraved bookplate such as the one illustrated, also in the British Museum, which is inscribed 'Joseph Banks Esq.r' (BM Franks 1371). These cups were probably commissioned after Banks came into his parental fortune in 1764 and before he married in 1779.
The shape of such two-handled cups, which are sometimes called 'grace cups' or 'loving cups' (see BM Franks. 624A), derives from English silverware, and a similar pair of 17th-century English silver cups is in the British Museum (BM 1973.0103.1 and 2). Their original function was for drinking a final toast after grace was said at the end of a meal, for which they were passed around the table. These porcelain examples, however, may have been decorative rather than utilitarian.
- On display (G1/wp124)
- Exhibition history
1994, Taiwan, National Museum of History, Ancient Chinese Trade Ceramics
1995 27 Jan-26 Mar, London, BM, G91, East Meets West: Chinese Trade Ceramics in the British Museum
- Acquisition date
- Registration number
- Additional IDs
Miscellaneous number: Franks 802+