- Museum number
Plate; soft-paste porcelain; moulded; depressed form with scalloped border; decorated with three shaped panels outlined with gilt scrolls on turquoise ground; youth seated on tub smoking, painted in colours; rope wreathed with flowers painted in 'dry blue' monochrome; stylised gilt pattern ('Queen's pattern'); centre with bunches of flowers within two blue lines hatched in gold, encircled by gold line; unmarked.
- Production date
- 1770 (circa)
Diameter: 21 centimetres
- Curator's comments
Text from Dawson 2007:
This dessert plate with its unusual lobed rim, turquoise ground and panels enclosing four different types of painted decoration has long been thought to be a sample showing what types of decoration were available from the Giles workshop. There is another similar plate in the Marshall Collection, Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, but only the flower decoration combined with the double blue line interrupted at intervals by two gilt lines is the same, and on the Oxford plate this appears in a border panel. A slop bowl now in the Worcester Porcelain Museum, known as the 'Amor Bowl', is similarly painted, although it has birds and cut fruit in one panel and no gilt design. A teapot sold on the New York market in 2006 from the collection of Mrs J. Insley Blair is painted with a scene in the Flemish style of a couple seated in a landscape within a shaped reserve outlined in gold on a turquoise ground. On the reverse is an exotic bird perched on berried branches. The green flower sprays painted in two panels outlined in gold on the cover are similar to those found on the Oxford plate and there is also a panel of flower sprays between two blue bands interrupted by gilt dashes. At present the theory that the British Museum and Oxford plates are sample pieces is still tenable, but it is also possible that there was a 'harlequin' service, and this will only become clear if and when more pieces come to light.
The turquoise ground described as 'sky blue' in the eighteenth century, is close to the bleu céleste used for grounds introduced at Vincennes/Sèvres from 1753 and probably inspired by Chinese porcelains.
Among pieces invoiced by Mallett & Son of the Octagon, Milsom Street, Bath in 1921 were several items under the date 24 June, including 'an old Worcester shaped edge plate, painted with separate panels of flowers, gilt trellis and figures on a turquoise blue ground' priced at £32 and discounted to Frank Lloyd for £28.
The decoration on this plate is both unusually conceived and painstakingly executed, the gilding being exceptionally fine. As it was for a long time the only piece known with this extraordinary pattern, it was considered to have been made as a 'sample'. However, two other pieces with comparable decoration which includes fruit instead of the figure have now come to light, indicating that perhaps the three once formed part of a service:
a) plate, H. R. Marshall Collection, Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, see H. Rissik Marshall, 'Coloured Worcester Porcelain of the First Period', Newport, 1954, part I, pl. 10(a), see p. 33; part II, pl. 28, no. 626
b) bowl with Albert Amor Ltd., London, in 1973, see 'Exhibition of First Period Worcester Porcelain 1751-1784', Albert Amor Ltd., 1973, no. 51, colour frontispiece.
- On display (G46/dc21)
- Exhibition history
1987 Jun 10-Jun 15, London, International Ceramics Fair and Seminar Ltd, 'International Ceramics Fair and Seminar'
- Acquisition date
- Britain, Europe and Prehistory
- Registration number