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Bowl and cover

Category

Ceramics

Date

1695 - 1710

Materials

porcelain, enamels, gold; silver

Measurements

270 mm (Diameter)213 mm (H)125 mm (H)215 mm (Diameter)

Place of origin

Arita

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Collection

Sizergh Castle, Cumbria

NT 997917

Caption

This porcelain bowl, made at Arita, in Japan, and mounted in silver in Paris, is a rare relic of the Stuart court in exile. It belonged to Lady Strickland of Sizergh Castle, who fled to France with James II and Queen Mary of Modena following William III’s seizure of the throne. Together they formed part of the English court in exile at the magnificently furnished château of Saint-Germain-en-Laye, near Versailles. The silver mounts convert the bowl into an 'écuelle', a high-status bowl for bouillon (broth). In the fashion of the French court, bouillon was served for breakfast.

Summary

A covered bowl made in Arita, Japan, around 1695-1710, mounted in silver in Paris as a bowl for broth in about 1717. Bowl and cover painted in enamels with red and orange flowers among foliage; silver mounts - berry-cluster as knob on cover, rim to bowl with strapwork design, four shaped feet with masks, apron-pieces with shell-motif. The handles have hinges, clasps above and below. At least four silver marks (fleur-de-lis in impressed diamond) of Etienne Baligny, fermier-général, 1703/4–1712/13.

Full description

This porcelain bowl, made at Arita, in Japan, and mounted in silver in Paris, is a rare relic of the Stuart court in exile. In December 1688 Lady Winifred Strickland, née Trentham (1645–1725) of Sizergh Castle and her husband, Thomas (1621–94), fled to France with James II and Queen Mary of Modena following William III’s seizure of the throne. They formed part of the English court in exile at the magnificently furnished château of Saint-Germain-en-Laye, near Versailles, provided by Louis XIV. After the Queen’s death in 1718, the widowed Lady Winifred retired to the Poor Clares’ nunnery in Rouen. She bequeathed her portrait, plate and ‘cheney’ – china – to her grandson Sir Thomas Peter Strickland (1701–54). The bowl now forms part of a group of Jacobite heirlooms at Sizergh that includes locks of the royal children’s hair, crystal buttons with the monogram of James II and several other pieces of contemporary Japanese porcelain. Lady Strickland may have received the bowl as a perquisite from either Mary of Modena or her son, James Francis Edward, Prince of Wales, later James III, the ‘Old Pretender’. Such useful porcelain bowls with shallow covers are rarely found in Western collections, as the shape was made for the élite domestic market in Japan. The decoration is not typical of export wares: a continuous scroll ornamented with cord-tied sprays of chrysanthemum, peony or prunus, links three iron-red panels with stylised lotus painted in reserve. The foliage of yellow, shading to green, and the solid purple-grey manganese fields, all outlined in black, are characteristic of a short-lived style associated with the Nangawara workshop in Arita, from about 1695 to 1710. The silver mounts convert the bowl into an écuelle, a high-status bowl for broth (bouillon), usually accompanied by a matching porcelain under-dish or tray, of which rare examples survive with ensuite silver mounts. In the fashion of the French court, bouillon was served as part of the petit dejeuner, while entertaining visitors during the toilette. Such a bowl was known as a ‘caudle bason’ in England, caudle being a nourishing gruel thickened with egg. The silver mounts both transformed the use of the porcelain and assimilated it into the repertoire of contemporary French silver tableware by means of such exotic motifs as masks and lambrequins, along with a flat, chased band around the rim decorated with quatrefoils, husks and strapwork on a matted ground. Similar strapwork appears in designs attributed to Pierre Masson in his book Nouveaux desseins pour graver sur l’orfeverie, published in Paris before 1710. Silver merchants, such as Masson, retained control of their designs, which were also produced in gilt-metal, although silver mounts were preferred on vessels used to serve hot food. Elements of the design of the silver on the Sizergh écuelle, especially the hinged and pinned cast foliate scrolled handles, appear on Chinese and Japanese porcelain acquired by the Bavarian Elector Max Emanuel from the Parisian marchand-mercier Laurent Danet (c.1650–1720), which included ‘2 Ecuelles also garnished with gilded silver’ purchased in 1706. Catalogue entry adapted from Patricia F. Ferguson, Ceramics: 400 Years of British Collecting in 100 Masterpieces, Philip Wilson Publishers, 2016.

Provenance

The bowl belonged to Lady Winifred Strickland, née Trentham (1645–1725) who bequeathed it with her china to grandson Sir Thomas Peter Strickland (1701–54). Lady Strickland may have received the bowl as a perquisite from either Mary of Modena or her son, James Francis Edward, Prince of Wales, later James III, the ‘Old Pretender’.

Marks and inscriptions

Charge mark, an ‘A’ encircled by a crown for Étienne Baligny, fermier-général, 1703/4–1712/13, on bowl-collar; Paris discharge mark, a fleur de lys in a lozenge, for 1717–22, struck on the collar of the cover and elements of the foot mounts.

References

Ferguson 2016: Patricia F. Ferguson, Ceramics: 400 Years of British Collecting in 100 Masterpieces, Philip Wilson Publishers, 2016, p.54

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