- Museum number
- Object: Sauney's Mistake
'Famille rose' punchbowl with a design satirising the Scots. This punchbowl is painted on one side with a grimacing Scotsman, dressed in a brightly coloured tartan jacket, kilt and tarn o'shanter, seated in a latrine with his legs thrust down two holes in the board and his sword beside him. To the right, a thistle is painted on the wall, growing out of an upside-down crown with the Latin motto of Scotland above 'NEMO ME IMPUNE LACESSIT' ('nobody wounds me with impunity'); to the left are two pasted-up pictures, one showing a woman, the other a giant with beard and crook towering over a kneeling man, with the caption 'O Sawney why leavs thou thy Nelly to moan'(sic). The inner rim is painted in gold with an unusual border of ears of corn.
- Production date
- 1783-1785 (circa)
Diameter: 29 centimetres
Height: 11.80 centimetres
Weight: 1.10 kilograms
- Curator's comments
- Harrison-Hall and Krahl 1994:
The reverse of the bowl is inscribed with details of the engraving on which this design is based, giving the name of the artist 'R. Dighton delin.', and the name and address of the publisher and date of publication, 'Published Jn. Smith No. 35 Cheapside Robt. Sayer Jn. Bennett No. 53 Fleet Street, as the Act directs 11 September 1783' and a rhyme entitled 'SAUNEYS MISTAKE':
"When first to the South sly Sauney came forth
He was shewn to a place quite unknown in the North;
That he is mistaken you soon will explore
Yet he scratches and S-s. as no man did before".
Reproduced on the front and reverse of this punchbowl are the upper and lower sections of a vulgar satirical English print. Such prints were made from engraved metal plates and mass-produced for sale to the public, either direct from the publishers or through shops. The publishers of this print, Robert Sayer and John Bennett, were foremost among the London publishers of popular prints at the time and according to their catalogue of 1775 charged 3d. (old pennies) for black-and-white prints, 6d. for 'neatly coloured' ones (Sayer and Bennett's Catalogue of Prints for the Year 1775, reprinted 1970). The present bowl is most unusual for reproducing the name of the artist, Robert Dighton (1752-1814), and precise publication details. The print itself appears to be lost, so that this picture survives only on Chinese porcelain. Similar prints with the archetypal Scotsman, Sawney, were used to satirise the Highlanders from the mid-18th century and an amusing print 'Sawney in the Bog House' also in the British Museum and attributed to James Gillray, was published four years earlier, in 1779 (BM 1868.0808.4951). To send a print to China, commission a piece of porcelain, have it painted and shipped back to Europe, could take two years or more.
This design is only known from punchbowls, and identical examples exist in the Espirito Santo collection, Lisbon, Portugal (Beurdeley, 1962, no. 70), and in the Royal Museum of Scotland, Edinburgh (Hervouet and Bruneau, 1986, no. 9.45). It also exists with a different rim border (Bonhams London, 8th December 1993, lot 72).
- Not on display
- 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
2012 22 Jun-2013 6 Jan, Beijing, National Museum of China, ‘Passion for Porcelain’
- Registration number