- Museum number
Teapot; bone china; of square shape, with pagoda knop to lid matching conical feet; the handle in the form of a scaled dragon whose mouth forms the spout and whose tail curls round the side of the teapot; the body is decorated with flying birds and flower sprays in low relief painted in pink, blue, green and brown on a yellow ground, the knop, dragon handle and feet glazed in bronze.
- Production date
- 1872-1882 (designed and decorated;circa)
Height: 19.50 centimetres
- Curator's comments
- Text from J. Rudoe, 'Decorative Arts 1850-1950. A catalogue of the British Museum collection'. 2nd ed. no. 315
Worcester porcelains incorporating a variety of Chinese and Japanese motifs, often combined in the same object, were exhibited in London in 1872, at Vienna in 1873 (see Decorative Arts 1850-1950, Cat. 314), Paris 1878 , (Art Journal, 1878, 7 and 193) and at the Society of Arts Exhibition of Modern English Pottery in London in 1882 (Journal of the Society of Arts 30, 1882, 771). Here the list of exhibits includes a 'Jug, dragon handle' (no. 14) and a 'Japanese kettle' (no. 34). R. W. Binns's 1882 catalogue of porcelain in the factory's own museum lists as no.1842 a 'Square Kettle, with dragon handle, decorated with bronze and gold in Japanese style, designed and modelled by Hadley, decorated by Callowhill' (R. W. Binns, 'Catalogue of a Collection of Worcester Porcelain in the Museum at theRoyal Porcelain Works', Worcester 1882,168; the kettle is illustrated in R.W.Binns, 'Worcester China. A Record of the Work of Forty-five Years 1852-1897', London 1897, opp. p. 48; in this example, in the Dyson Perrins Museum, Worcester, the decoration is in pink, orange, purple and green on a mottled buff ground, the handle in bronze). The 'Japanese kettle' was shape no. 254, introduced in 1872 (H. Sandon, 'Royal Worcester Porcelain from 1862 to the Present Day', London 1973, pl. 63, 174). The kettle was part of a set of square-shaped tea-ware; Sandon also illustrates a milk jug, teacup and saucer. For a teapot, hot water pot, milk jug, sugar bowl and matching tray with decoration executed in gilt and bronze on a white ground, see London 1990, Fine Art Society, 'Christopher Dresser 1834-1904', no. 23 (although this teaset was included in an exhibition of Christopher Dresser's work, there is no evidence that it was designed by Dresser). The service was made in a number of other colour schemes; a kettle with decoration in white and gold on a blue ground, the handle in bronze-coloured glaze, is held by the National Museum of Wales, Cardiff (inv. no. A.30.153, acquired in 1922).
A series of complimentary contemporary reports was printed at the back of the Guide to the Worcester Porcelain Works (see Cat. 314), but the critics were not unanimous in their praise: the Official Report of the Vienna Exhibition of 1873 noted that the originality of English artists and their 'preference for that which is extraordinary and bizarre, must at times, it is self-evident, lead to uncertainty and error. This is the only explanation to be found for the unlovely angular imitations of the forms of some Japanese and Chinese vessels and knick-knacks by Mintons, but still more by the Worcester Manufactory, upon which, however, an amount of industry appears to have been expended which was really worthy of a better cause.'
The square shape with dragon handle is inspired by Chinese eighteenth-century models.
Additional text from J. Rudoe, 'Decorative Arts 1850-1950. A Catalogue of the British Museum Collection'. 2nd ed. 1994. Addenda.
Design registration mark corresponds to the Registers in the Public Record Office, design no. 259801. It was registered in plain white.
- On display (G47/dc12)
- Acquisition date
- Britain, Europe and Prehistory
- Registration number