- Museum number
Jug; soft-paste porcelain; thrown; of bellied form, turned foot, scroll handle with mould line visible in centre and 'kick'; painted in monochrome lilac with harbour scene with church and other buildings on the shore, enclosed by rococo scroll, and with another shipping scene; in between these is coloured coat-of-arms of Chalmers, for Rev Alexander Chalmers: argent a demi lion rampant issuing from a fess gules and in base a fleur-de-lis gules with crest eagle rising proper, and motto; beneath handle is black and green device of goose on pole with leaf in bill and inscription and date; rim painted with pale mauve and blue scroll pattern, handle with a few orange dots and dashes; unmarked.
- Production date
Height: 8.50 centimetres
- Curator's comments
The painting on this jug was attributed to James Rogers by Tait, 1962.
Text from Dawson 2007:
One of a series of pieces with armorial decoration, this jug is painted with the arms of Chalmers for the Reverend Alexander Chalmers: argent a demi lion rampant issuing from a fess gules and in base a fleur-de-lis gules with crest eagle rising proper, and motto 'SPIRO'; beneath the handle is a black and green crest of a goose on a pole with a leaf in its bill, which has not been traced and the inscription 'A + C/ 1759'. Around the rim iis a pale mauve and blue scroll pattern; the handle is painted with a few orange dots and dashes. As on a number of other pieces painted with a coat of arms, the armorial shield is enclosed by an exceptionally elaborate rococo cartouche. Here it is in turn ornamented with small purple flowers. On either side of the arms are scenes finely painted in pale lilac, showing on one side a sailing ship near the shore accompanied by two small ships near the shore with buildings, including a church with a tall spire in the background. The ships painted on the jug must refer to its owner's departure from Aberdeen to India.
The Reverend Alexander Chalmers, who was born about 1720, studied at Marischal College, Aberdee, 1735-9, and was ordained in 1747, is listed as chaplain to the 89th Regiment of Foot on 13 October 1759. This regiment, raised by the 4th Duke of Gordon through his stepfather, Staats Morris, was also known as the Morris Highlanders. It set sail for the East Indies in 1759 and was in the siege of Pondicherry in August 1760, embarking for England from Bombay at the end of 1763. It was disbanded in 1765, and Chalmers was with it until 1763, there being no records for 1764 (I am grateful to Jessica Stewart, Curator, National Army Museum, for her assistance).
Chalmers owed much to patronage: his father was factor to Cosmo Alexander, 4th Duke of Gordon. Chalmers was Minister of Cairnie, Huntly, Aberdeenshire, from 1747, a living in the gift of the Duke. He died on 2 October 1798 (see A.M. Munro, 'A genealogical history of the family of Chalmers of Balnacraig and cadet branches', Aberdeen, 1901 [typescript in Local Studies Library, Aberdeen]; J. Balfour [ed], Scots peerage: founded on Wood's edition of Sir Robert Douglas's Peerage of Scotland, vol. IV, Edinburgh, 1907; and G. Gordon, The last Dukes of Gordon and their consorts 1743-1861, a revealing study, published by George Gordon, 1980).
The genesis of this mug remains mysterious. It may have been commissioned through James Mackenzie or Thomas Cameron, both Scots, who were two of the four physicians who, with Dr Wall and Thomas Attwood, were the original doctors at the Worcester Infirmary.
The painting on this jug has been attributed to J. Rogers, as the mug signed by him (no 20) has the same characteristic purple rococo scrolls. The landscape scenes on both jug and mug are painted in the same manner.
The surviving receipt for the jug, dated 11 May 1910 and describing the piece as 'A Worcester jug, with a sea view on each side, bearing the arms of the Chalmers family, of Balnacraig Co. Aberdeen' from Stoner & Evans, Works of Art, 3 King Street, St James's Square, London, shows that Mrs Lloyd paid £45 for it.
The jug is thought to have been ordered for the Reverend Alexander Chalmers, Minister of Cairnie, Aberdeenshire, who became Chaplain to the 88th Regiment of Foot in 1759.
There are four pieces of armorial Worcester porcelain by James Rogers in the Museum collection.
- Bibliographic references
Hobson 1910 / Worcester porcelain: a description of the ware from the Wall period to the present day (p. 82, pl. C, fig. 1)
Hobson 1923 / Catalogue of the Frank Lloyd Collection of Worcester Porcelain of the Wall Period presented by Mr. and Mrs. Frank Lloyd in 1921to the Department of Ceramics and Ethnography in the British Museum (no. 386, pl. 82)
Marshall 1946 / Armorial Worcester Porcelain of the Dr Wall Period 1751-83 (pp.190-1)
Marshall 1954 / Coloured Worcester Porcelain of the First Period (Part II, pl. 47, no. 957)
Tait 1962c / James Rogers, a leading porcelain painter at Worcester c. 1775-65 (p. 232, fig. 17)
Barrett 1966a / Worcester Porcelain and Lund's Bristol (pl. 24; pp. 17-8)
Honey, rev.Barrett, 1979 / Old English Porcelain, A Handbook for Collectors (pl.93A)
Spero 1984 / Worcester Porcelain, The Klepser Collection (App.B p.184)
Dawson 1987 / Rare and Documentary 18th Century English Porcelain from the British Museum (50)
Dawson 2007 / The Art of Worcester Porcelain 1751-1788, Masterpieces from the British Museum collection (pp.74-6, no.24)
- On display (G46/dc21)
- Exhibition history
1987 Jun 10-Jun 15, London, International Ceramics Fair and Seminar Ltd, 'International Ceramics Fair and Seminar'
1978, London, British Museum, 'British Heraldry', cat. compiled by R. Marks and A. Payne, cat. 163
- Acquisition date
- Britain, Europe and Prehistory
- Registration number