- Museum number
Mug (chope); soft-paste porcelain, heavily potted, cylindrical, divided into eight compartments by eight pairs of vertically incised lines; scroll-form strap handle, out-turned at both ends; shallow foot-rim, glazed foot; decorated with interlocking scrolls and a flower-like motif near rim and foot, and similar stylised bell flowers enclosing a daisy head in the narrow panels, all in underglaze-blue; no marks.
- Production date
- 1715-1720 (circa)
Diameter: 8.10 centimetres (max)
Height: 9.10 centimetres
- Curator's comments
- Dawson 1994
The mug was apparently fired on its rim, where there are traces of bedding material.
The baroque handle, the simple shape of the mug and its ‘Régence-style’ decoration all indicate an early date of production. However, the quality of the underglaze-blue and the precision of the painting are remarkable and show considerable technical accomplishment.
Few mugs seem to have been produced at French porcelain factories, perhaps because wine rather than beer was the usual drink, although covered mugs of much the same size were made at Vincennes,¹ and a Chantilly example without a cover measuring 13 cm in height and painted in the ‘chinoiserie’ style is recorded.² Tournay manufactured mugs later in the eighteenth century.³ Another Saint-Cloud mug with a cover and metal mount painted in the Kakiemon style (Illustrated in an advertisement in ‘Apollo’, Vol. XCIX, no. 148, June 1974, p. 119, for exh. Williams, 1974) testifies to the long-lasting appeal of the mug at this factory.
An umarked pot and cover decorated with similar motifs to those on the Museum mug and whose domed cover is also divided into sections by incised lines is in the Musée des arts décoratifs, Paris (Inv. MAD 8334, H. without cover about 10.8 cm). Incised decoration seems to be characteristic of Saint-Cloud porcelain made in the first half of the eighteenth century and of its white glazed productions. The arrangement of the underglaze-blue motifs reached great heights of sophistication, as in the scroll, strap-work and stylised floral designs found on a water jug and cover and its matching basin in the Musée national de Céramique, Sèvres (Illus. F. Labayle, ‘La porcelaine de Saint-Cloud’, Rennes, 1982, pp. 19-21).
1. See Hallé, Antoinette and Préaud, Tamara, ‘Porcelaines de Vincennes, les Origines de Sèvres’, Grand Palais, Paris, October 1977 – January 1978, p. 125, no. 369; a slightly smaller example is illus. in 'Eighteenth-Century French Porcelain', Williams, Winifred, ‘Eighteenth Century French Porcelain’, London, July 1978 (catalogue of a selling exhibition), no. 13, and a larger covered example, ibid., no. 4. Another covered example, and one without a cover, were sold at Christie's, New York, The Elizabeth Parke Firestone Collection, Part 1: Important French Porcelain, 21-22 March 1991, Lots 178, 179.
2. Malgras, Gilbert-Jean, (ed.), ‘Porcelaines tendres françaises’, Paris, 1983, p. 34. Another painted with a dragon was sold at Christie's, New York, The Elizabeth Parke Firestone Collection, Part 1: Important French Porcelain, 21-22 March 1991, Lot 5 4, and a comparable piece in the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, is referred to in the catalogue, illus. Savage, George, ‘Seventeenth and Eighteenth-Century French Porcelain’, London, 1960, pl. 18b.
3. C. Deroubaix, ‘Les porcelaines de Tournai du Musée de Mariemont’, Mariemont, 1958, pl. 41, no. 875. The decoration of this piece may indicate an early-nineteenth century date; see also pl. 45, no. 939.
Comparable Examples: USA, California, Gillian Wilson Collection, H. 7.5 cm, unmarked, with turned and underglaze-blue decoration.
Literature: A. Dawson et al., Recent acquisitions of post-medieval ceramics and glass in the British Museum's Department of Medieval and Later Antiquities, ‘The Burlington Magazine’, Vol. cxxx, no. 1022, May 1988, p. 400, fig. 79.
- On display (G46/dc16)
- Acquisition date
- Acquisition notes
- Presented by his family in loving memory of Richard Russell, 1987.
- Britain, Europe and Prehistory
- Registration number