An interesting rarity has just been unearthed at Moorabool.
Godden in his ‘Staffordshire Porcelain’ is the initial source of attribution, using the style of piece & pattern to date it to the 1820’s, and then refine it down to two possible makers with ‘D’ surnames. Drewry- also spelt Drewery – is the most likely of the two, in his opinion. They are recorded in the directories 1818, and disappear after the 1830 publication. Godden illustrates the London-shape teapot with the same pattern and ‘D’ mark on p415. Distinct to this maker (apparently not found elsewhere) is the plain handle form, without a spur on the inside towards the bottom; also distinct is the handle wrapping down the body and terminating by touching the actual foot of the jug.
A selection of similar patterns, made by the Hilditch firm. These are identified by marked examples, set out in a 2003 publication, ‘Hilditch Porcelain – A Collector’s Guide’ by Margaret Hewat & June M. Owen.
The similarity to the Drewry pattern is no coincidence; the Hilditch works were located in Lane End, Staffordshire, just over the road from the Drewery works. The engraver responsible for the copper plates used to print the transfer was not exclusively employed by these companies; rather, he would be a freelance operator, taking on the work when it was needed. Somewhere like Drewry would not need his services very often – this was pattern 65, and such printing plates could stay in use for many years before needing replacement. If you examine the details of the prints of these Hilditch products, and the other similar works such as Newhall, it is clear that the same engravers are at work for multiple firms – making this marked example an important clue to unravelling the correct attribution of these charming transfer printed wares.
This pattern is recorded by the Transferware Collector’s Club database as pattern #2552, titled ‘Pavilion & Tower’ ( no. 65) by Thomas Drewry & Son, Lane End, Staffordshire. A related pattern is their #3327, a pattern known as ‘Tea House’ (See photo below). In the documented example, there is a number next to the mark – as there is with this example & others of this pattern that have been recorded, all ’65’. Clearly this is the pattern number for this pattern, 65. The numbers on the ‘Tea House’ example are interpreted as ’44’, but seem to more likely be meant as ’77’ – just a few patterns along from this ‘Pavilion & Tower’ pattern. Comparing the two reveals a very close look.
This piece is a fine example of how time disappears in this field: unravelling the above story took quite a while, with widespread resources to consult and bring together to tell the story. And yet, look at the price: Rarity doesn’t necessarily mean ‘expensive’ !
We have some Fresh ‘Delft’ and ‘delft’ pottery. What’s the difference? -Capital D is for the Dutch Delft, while the English version is designated a lower-case ‘d’. France calls it ‘Faience’, Germany ‘Fayence’, and Italy ‘Maiolica’.
Of course, it’s all the same technology: Tin oxide (a white powder) is added to the glaze to make it opaque and white, similar to the more technical porcelain. The reason can be seen when there’s a chip that reveals the clay body underneath: inevitably, it’s a coarse reddish-brown colour, nowhere near as attractive as the tinglaze white for a background.
There’s a splendid pair of Sèvres dishes fresh to Moorabool.
This shape is a compotier rond, and was a component of the large services, used alongside other shaped serving dishes in the centre of the table. A setting for a dozen might have two compotier rond, while the larger services, such as the massive Service Camaïeu Carmen de Fontainebleau (used by the Royal Family) had several dozen of this elegant dishes available.
The moulded pattern allows the beauty of the moulded porcelain to show in a way the more painted patterns cannot.
The elegant lotus flower design is borrowed from Chinese Export origins, where lotus-moulded dishes were a common sight in the early 18th century.
One of the dishes simply has the crossed ‘L’s’ mark, enclosing the date letter ‘L’ for 1764. The other example is the same, but also has a painter’s mark: ‘L’. This allows us to put a name on the painter of the flowers: Louis-Françoise Lécot . He appears in the factory wages lists in 1763, after possible earlier unpaid work as a pupil from about 1761. He worked as a flower painter in 1764 – but is then absent from any reference the following year, giving him the working period 1763-4…. a perfect match for this dish. He does re-appear, after spending 6 years somewhere else, when he is documented as a hard-paste artist in 1771 (as opposed to the soft-paste that was the only body available at Sèvres in the 1760’s). His work is then remarkable and distinct, specialising in dramatic imitation lacquer pieces, with gilt or platinum/silver chinoiseries painted in the highest Rococo manner, or the exotic ‘Etruscan’ grotesques inspired by discoveries in Italy during the 1770’s. These styles were the latest fashion for the French aristocrats, and bring to mind the lavish productions of the high-end Paris firms competing with Sèvres for the top-end customers. As Sèvres was the King’s factory, he enforced a monopoly on the industry, where colours & gilt decoration was exclusive to his own factory; the loop-hole found by eager factory owners was to attract an aristocratic patron to protect them – Clignancourt was under the protection of the Comet de Provenance (the future Louis XVIII) and Rue Thiroux was under the protection of the Queen, Marie Antoinette. Both produced very high quality hard-paste products in the 1770’s, and would have eagerly employed a Sèvres-trained artist such as Lécot. Locré & Russinger, otherwise known as La Courtille, was another such factory, minus the aristocratic protection; they ran afoul of the King’s Sèvres monopoly, with 2,000 pieces of illegal coloured & gilt porcelain being seized in 1780 – indicating they were producing a large amount of high quality hard-paste wares. Despite this set-back, they continued to make superbly decorated pieces as if nothing had happened….
Could Lécot have spent his time in some such Paris porcelain manufacture, learning the technique for decorating the hard-paste porcelain body? While he was away, Sèvres purchased the recipe for pâte tendre (hard paste) from Pierre-Antoine Hannong, the youngest son of Paul-Antoine Hannong, whose father had established the faience works in Strasbourg in the early 18th century . As often happens with generations, Paul-Antoine made a success of the firm when he introduced the first hard-paste porcelain production in France, in the mid-1750’s. He died in 1769, and his son, Pierre-Antoine became head. Two years later, he sold the secret of Hard-Paste to the Sèvres factory. They took a while, but once the right ingredients were sourced, Hard-Paste was made (alongside Soft-Paste) from the mid 1770’s onward.
When he returned in 1771, Lécot was able to paint on the new Hard-Paste body. He worked on some truly impressive hard-paste orders, and all major collections seem to feature his dramatic 1780’s Chinoiseries. This early example of his Soft-Paste work from his brief appearance at Sèvres in 1763-4 is a lovely rarity.
ref. Rosalind Savill, The Wallace Collection Catalogue of Sèvres Porcelain, London, 1988, Vol. III, pp. 1043-4 for more on Leçot.
Jean Bouchet, active at Sèvres 1757-93
This lovely cup and saucer are a ‘recently married’ pair. While the saucer has been in the Rosenberg Reference Collection in Geelong for a while as a fine example of Sèvres, the cup is a recent acquisition; remarkably, it is the same artist at work at Sèvres in the same year, 1781. While there is a difference in the details, the overall harmony makes them a delightful rarity. And of course, they have a story to tell…..
The artist is Jean Bouchet. He used a pictorial mark, a ‘tree’. While in the factory records – and the subsequent publications that used this as their source for what the marks looked like – he carefully drew a realistic tree with roots, trunk and layered foliage, while in practice he simplified it into something that looks like a furry lollypop…. This would have taken much less time & concentration!
The cup and the saucer are both 1781, dated with the same ‘DD’ in a distinct cursive script, the hand-writing of Jean Bouchet; there is also his distinct mark, a tree symbol. He is recorded as active at Sèvres 1763-93, a painter of human figures, landscapes, and flowers. He is very well represented in major collections, with his small landscapes being very appealing to original customers and present-day connoisseurs alike.
The cup has another painter’s mark also – ‘IN’, the mark of Jean Chauvaux jeune, a gilder active 1765-1802. As there is not a great deal of gilding on the cup, we would suggest he was responsible for the unusual ‘bead necklace’ painting of the borders, where they are given highlights & shadows to make them appear rounded.
The incised workman’s marks 36 & 48a are both recorded by Saville in the Wallace Collection’s catalogue, vol III pp1130&1133. ’36’ is recorded 1770-90’s, while ’48a’ is recorded 1777-92. There are no names associated with these individuals.
In the British Royal Collection, both ’36’ and ’48a’ are present in several assemblages, including a set of very similar cups & saucers from the same period.
A complete déjeuner by Jean Bouchet, in the V&A Museum, London
It’s rare to see a complete group of porcelain from this era still together. This set in the Victoria & Albert Museum, South Kensington, is a fascinating rarity to study. It was bequeathed to the museum in 2015, and leading expert Rosalind Savill has identified it as one of four déjeuners bought by Christian IV, Duke of Zweibrücken, on the 14th June 1775. This was just 3 days after the event of the decade in France, the coronation of Louis XVI which the Duke naturally attended. Their cost was 840 livres, the equivalent of tens-of-thousands in today’s currency…. an expensive souvenir!
The marks on Sèvres should follow the rules and be very logical, but in practice they can be quite random. The system was there to provide the company with a way of tracking the various production steps and those responsible for the work: in a perfect scenario, the répareur, or workman who puts it all together, incised his particular mark, and both the artist and the gilder would include their mark. Then the factory mark, the crossed ‘L’s’ for Louis were painted, and inside them the code for the year it was decorated.
As you can see in the dejéuner set examples above, this isn’t always the case: of the nine components of the existing set, just a single example has a painter’s mark, here the ‘tree’ of Jean Bouchet, and none have a year mark! It is only the monogram found on the tray, along with the factory records recording Bouchard’s work on the commission, and the solid provenance that allow this remarkable set to be dated. This helps explain the number of non-conforming Sèvres items we come across, which have no date code or artist’s mark. They were quite probably part of a set where only a few items were marked.
Reference: Savill, Rosalind: A Sèvres Porcelain Tea Service in the Victoria and Albert Museum with Surprising Credentials, French Porcelain Society Journal, Vol. II, 2005, pp. 39-46.
Of course, fraud is always a concern, and later-decorated pieces can often be non-conforming – but usually, a date code is part of the deception, with the first years ‘A B C’ for 1754, 55 & 56 being the favourite – the trouble is, the style of decoration & object type was often not yet invented at that date, a dead giveaway!
Welcome to our 2022 Special Gallery of Fresh Chinese items.
We’ve always stocked a good selection of Chinese items, and at present, we have a large number of items to share.
Of particular note below are the Ming Dynasty blue & white pieces. Part of a collection we are selling, the highlight is perhaps the Jiajing period dish, 500 years old and complete with a mark. This 4-character mark misses the important part – the name of the Emperor during the period it was made – but is also found on a very similar example in the British Museum. They have linked it to an example that has the complete mark, revealing it to be made in the time of Emperor Jiajing, who reigned 1522-66.
We have some quality Chinese Hardwood furniture to offer. A pair of cabinets make excellent display cases for any collector of Asian Antiques, and are available as a single or the pair. The long low table has handy compartments beneath, and is an excellent shallow size for small spaces, such as a hallway.
Below are some lovely examples of the Tang & Ming dynasty pottery models. These items were buried as offerings, to ensure the deceased had a life of luxury in the afterlife. They are accurate models of everyday items, and allow us to vividly imagine everyday life in their time: in this respect, they indeed meet their purpose by bringing the past to life!
Blue and White porcelains have been the most popular Chinese Ceramics in Europe since the Ming Dynasty, and the same aesthetic is still popular today. The following examples are all Ming, dating from 500-
Vast amounts of Chinese Porcelain was made purely as Export Wares in China, with England, Europe, and America as the main destination. The shapes reflect this, as they are usually European rather than traditional Chinese.
Works on paper – or ‘pith’, the thinly-shaved core of a fast-growing tropical plant – are beautiful, rare survivors. The larger pieces are on linen, and were intended as ‘scrolls’, to be brought out and displayed when needed. The large example with the multi-figures is a family tree, an ‘Ancestor Scroll’ set in the interior of their house.
Welcome to our Fresh stock – on the First Day of Spring (for us Southerners!).
What better way to welcome Spring than with some Derby children with flowers…. and the Regency lacquer tray they are displayed on is simply sensational, converted into a ‘coffee table’ by mounting it on a bamboo base.
We have started to catalogue our large holding of Prints – and what better place to start than with our local views. You’ll find a good selection of S.T. Gill views of Geelong, from the 1857 publication ‘Views in Victoria’, or the 1890 re-print. In the near future, we have a lot of other interesting historical views from all around Australia – soon to be found fully sorted by region in the ‘Print Gallery’ we are preparing.
We have a fine selection of Fossils to offer, from several old collections that are being dispersed. Here’s a few, with many more to come. They make terrific presents….. Millions of years old for a few dollars!
A wonderful selection of Vienna, Meissen, Sevres and other finely decorated ceramics for your perusal! Mainly 18th century, you’ll find Bow, Worcester & Caughley, plus some French & German – but in particular, a fine selection of early Vienna porcelain.
This group of Vienna is a part-set, with just 3 pieces remaining – beautifully painted with flower panels on dark ‘earthy’ grounds, they are individual masterpieces in their own right!
The vienna is original 18th century; the Sevres cup & saucer, shown at the top & in detail here, is 18th century porcelain, but was decorated in the 19th century – by a very skilled artist. Stunning!
The Bow pieces in today’s ‘Fresh’ are rather fine examples of their early products of the 1750’s. The blue is a distinct lovely rich deep tone. The fluid quality of the painting is superb – echoing the imported Chinese Export wares of the period, but in their own way. The large charger has a number of very unusual features, including the central pagoda with its buttressed supports, and the speedy boat at lower left, piloted by a hunched over figure in the stern, the movement shown by a radiating wake!
Each piece has a damage – the charger a factory flaw to the central tree, the punchbowl a chip & crack to rim restored – hence their tempting prices, $1650 on the charger and $850 on the punchbowl.
Today, there’s some fine Japanese porcelain & sculpture freshly posted to moorabool.com, including some lovely early 17th & 18th century Edo period pieces.
Three types of Japanese Porcelain, Edo Period (1603-1867) : Arita ‘Sometsuke‘ wares (underglaze blue), Imari ‘kinran-de‘ (gold brocade) wares with iron-red & gold as well as underglaze blue, and a Kakiemon-type enamelled dish, (no underglaze blue) Aritia, early 18th century.
Japanese Screen from Purrumbete, Western District Victoria, c. 1890
This magnificent large room-screen is Japanese, and typical of the luxury goods imported from Japan for the wealthy Australian land-owners of the late 19th century. It was purchased at the clearing sale of the Purrumbete Homestead, near Camperdown in the Western District of Victoria, and part of the original Manifold family’s furnishings. This magnificent Arts & Crafts house had been created from a smaller 1850’s house for them in the very early 20th century. This screen was no doubt a fitting from that period, part of the ‘Country House’ look popular at that time, with Japanese & Chinese items mixed in with traditional furniture against the stunning Australian-timber panelled walls and decorative woodwork to the ceilings. See the screen here >> The large late 19th century Japanese vases included in today’s ‘Fresh Stock’ were also sourced in the Western District of Victoria, probably originating from another grand home of this period.
Lavish is the word that best describes this Flight Worcester plate. It’s from the ‘Hope’ service, ordered in 1789 by William Henry, the Duke of Clarence, who was the third son of King George III and eventual inheritor of the British throne at the age of 64 after both brothers died without heirs.
The subject was chosen by him, and reflects his military career. Each piece has a different rendition of ‘Hope’ with her anchor, with a ship in the background. He had joined the Royal Navy in his youth, serving in North America and the Caribbean under Nelson. Nicknamed the ‘Sailor King’ when he came to the throne, it is little wonder he chose this nautical theme for his service.
Securing the service commission was a major event for the ailing Worcester factory, which had been purchased by John Flight in 1783. It was William’s second commission from the factory, the first being the ‘St Andrew’ service, celebrating his achievement of the Order of St Andrew, earlier in 1789.
John Flight recorded in his diary in January 1790:
‘We used our two best painters last week to make some very fine designs for the Duke of Clarence, we have already completed 3 plates and I have sent them to London. One is a gold arabesque design, another the figure of Hope, the other of Patience.’
A few days later on 24th January John Flight added:
‘Apart from the two plates mentioned… we have made two others with figures, Peace and Plenty. H.R.H. Duke of Clarence has decided on the Hope design with the decoration that we put on the Peace plate, he has ordered a table service that will amount to more than £700 sterling. He has given us a year in which to complete it…’
It is interesting to track down some original tabloid gossip from the period:
This news article intended to impress, inflating the price and the number of pieces. The comment about it being ‘particularly appropriate to the nautical profession of the royal proprietor …’ is interesting, as William was indeed a Navy officer. His father George III had determined he should join the Royal Navy, and so he entered the navy at 13 as a midshipman. He saw active service in the War of American Independence (targeted in a kidnap plot by an agent of George Washington in New York, 1782!), and became a friend of Nelson. He was placed on the Warwick under Captain George Keith Elphinstone, and spent time in the Caribbean. In 1789 he returned to England, where his father the King’s health was failing, but although he received promotions to rear-admiral, vice-admiral, and in 1799 admiral, the navy refused his pleas for a return to active service. When he gained the throne in 1830, he was affectionately known as ‘The Sailor King’.
Another news article, in the ‘Derby Mercury’ in 1791, quotes the same inflated price – 800 Guineas (more than the £700 Flight recorded in his journal) – but gets the number of pieces right at 296. The story related of his ‘Blue-blooded Britishness’ is fantastic – if it happened. He was offered a set of ‘Avignon China’ (French porcelain of some type) he refused, saying while OTHERS may be happy with foreign products, he wouldn’t even accept a piece of furniture that wasn’t British!
The back of this plate has a large pasted label, which declares the following:
Hope Service Label
Specimen of the Celebrated Service of Old Worcester
Porcelain, made and presented to Lord Nelson by the
Nation, bequeathed by him to King William the Fourth
who gave it to his son Lord Frederick Fitzclarence
and in whose Will the full particulars are given –
It passed by marriage to the Earl of Erol and was
his up to May 1893 when it was dispersed at Christies
and realised nearly the sum of £2000.
This is of course different to what has been described at the top of this page, and is a fascinating example of mis-information. This old label provides us with the source of this mis-information, the Christies auction which dispersed the service in 1893. They of course got their information from the Earl of Erol, who had inherited it from his father, the illegitimate son of William IV, Fitzclarence. It was in this will that ‘the particulars’ were given, and so the confusion appears to have arisen right back then, just the next generation from when it was a wonderful new service that impressed the nation.
The Royal French porcelain manufactory at Sèvres was well patronized by the French court, and the pieces they created were meant to be the most flamboyant and impressive luxuries imaginable. This pink ground cup & saucer certainly qualifies.
Important Sèvres cup and saucer, goblet et soucoup enfoncé, premiere grandeur , superbly painted by Antoine-Joseph Chappuis (aîné), with four panels of birds in landscapes, framed within rich tooled gold borders against a ground of blue and gold oeil-de-perdrix on a pink ground.
Crossed ‘L’s’ mark,
also date letter ‘M’ for 1765,
‘cp’ for artist Antoine-Joseph Chappuis (aîné),
incised cup repairer’s mark ‘00’ & ‘ae’
Madame de Pompadour was probably responsible for the inception of this unusual form of saucer, with its deep well ensuring the cup cannot be easily upset. The form appears in 1753, and as she was failing in health with tuberculosis, a socketed saucer negated the risk of spilling her drink due to a shaking hand or coughing fit. Factory records show that all examples of this type made were purchased by her until her death in 1764. The next recorded sale was in October 1765 to Princess Louise-Marie of France, youngest daughter of Louis XV. Its present whereabouts are unrecorded, and this example has a high possibility of being the goblet et soucoup enfoncé, premiere grandeur in question.
They were one-off products, and examples vary wildly in decoration. An example in the Getty Museum is thought to have belonged to Madame de Pompadour. It has a saucer with an unknown repairer’s mark (00), the same as on this cup. The gilding appears on numerous examples from this period, often with small inconsistencies such as can be seen in the above detail, where the gold doesn’t quite cover the ground.
The artist Chappuis ‘l’aîne’ was a long-term employee at Sèvres, being apprenticed as a répareur (maker) in 1756, became a painter in 1761, became the deputy ‘head of kilns’ in 1782 , andin charge of the kilns for the final year of his life in 1787.
His wonderfully vivid birds are distinct amongst the Sèvres artists repertoire, and a piece such as this importantgoblet et soucoup enfoncé, premiere grandeur show Sèvres at its best.
Provenance: The Antique Porcelain Company, NY
Similar gilding canseen on a can & saucer in the British Museum, #110 in Dawson’s book ‘French Porcelain in the British Museum’, also #112.
An écoulle, cover & stand with the same decoration was sold as part of the Giuseppe Rossi collection, Sothebys London 1999 lot 518
We have found a number of outstanding items over the years, and many of these have left Australia for distant shores. It’s with great pleasure that we can announce the acquisition of our latest ‘Great Find’, the Sulkowski Charger, by our very local National Gallery of Victoria.
This is a large piece of porcelain, measuring 34.5cm across. It isn’t the largest from the service – there appears to be two sizes larger again – but it is an impressive piece, perfectly displaying the large & showy armorial device. It is this coat of arms that makes this so important; experts regard it as the earliest large-scale commission from the Meissen factory made for someone other than the owner of the works, Augustus II ‘The Strong’.
These arms are depicting a marriage, with the two shields beneath the crown representing each family. On the left is Count von Sulkowski (1695-1762), the high ranking court official. On the right are the arms of Baroness Maria Franziska von Stein zu Jettingen (1712-41) who he married in 1728 and had 7 children with. The production of a service such as this 8 years later is almost like a delayed wedding gift for himself; usually they are contemporary with the wedding, but remember the context: Meissen, the first producer of porcelain in Europe, was still in its infancy in the 1720’s, and we could argue that a service of such elaborate sophistication would not have been possible as the capabilities of the Meissen works were not yet experienced enough.
Alexander Joseph Graf von Sulkowski was Privy Councillor, Minister of State, and a Cabinet Minister to the King, Frederick Augustus. He was deeply involved in the Meissen factory, taking responsibility for the deliveries of porcelain to furnish the newly built ‘Porcelain Palace’ in Dresden, and also being responsible for the King’s treasure vaults in Dresden, known as the ‘Green Vaults’.
His origins & ascent to power is a tale in itself. Born to Polish gentry, rumour has it his mother fell under the spell of Augustus II ‘The Strong’, Elector of Saxony and King of Poland ( and creator of the Meissen porcelain factory!). Augustus II was known as ‘The Strong’ for his musculature, reinforced by his favourite party trick of apparently ripping iron horseshoes in half with his bare hands….. But there is another aspect to his nickname, the results of which were a debatable 354 illegitimate children!
Rumour has it that Alexander was one such child, and certainly Augustus II cared for the youth who came to the Royal Court at Warsaw in 1711 as a page. He entered the service of the crown prince, Frederick Augustus, who was one year younger, and they grew up together. He received his first title in 1712, ‘Master of the Horse’, and for the next seven years he & the Crown Prince went travelling through Italy, France, and the other German states. A couple of teenagers seeing the sights of Europe together, who can imagine what adventures they had…. certainly it would have been a bonding experience, and so Augustus was well established to rise in status in the court. He became a ‘Gentleman of the Bedchamber’ in 1726, married a court Lady-in-waiting in 1728, and became a Count in 1732. On 1st February 1733, Augustus II ‘The Strong’ died, and his heir Frederick Augustus ascended the throne. Straight away, Alexander was made Privy Councillor, Minister of State, Cabinet Minister and an Imperial Count. He also became a Count of the Holy Roman Empire. He was a Pole, and the only Pole to achieve such a lofty position in the court at that time. Like a Shakespearian play, the scene was set for his fall.
What is fascinating is that this very service has been blamed for his descent; it was so much showier & desirable than the King’s own services, and more importantly, he had not asked permission from the King – the owner of the works – before putting in his order. Certainly, he lost favour at the exact same time the pieces began to be delivered, and so Sulkowski lost his many positions of privilege & responsibility to another of Frederick Augustus’s ministers, Heinrich Graf von Brühl. Brühl takes on most of Sulkowski’s titles, including Director of the Meissen works, and straight away commissions his own grand, Baroque service – the delightful & iconic ‘Swan Service’.
The National Gallery already has a magnificent charger from Brühl’s service, and these two marvelous Meissen chargers will soon be housed together in the same cabinet – graphic depictions of a government power struggle 290 years ago that centered on Meissen, Europe’s first porcelain maker.
To be continued in Part 2…… once the charger is in place in the NGV!