Teacup and Saucer, Worcester, soft paste porcelain, c.1775


This blue scale teacup and saucer is decorated with three ornate cartouches containing colourful, so-called Fancy Birds, surrounded by foliage and grasses. These are separated by three smaller panels, each containing either a butterfly or a moth. These cartouches, sometimes described as mirror- and vase-shaped panels, are reserved on a blue scale ground. The overall effect is intensified with the use of elaborate gilt decoration that surrounds each of the panels. The central circular panel of the saucer is painted with a winged insect and a ladybird. The inside base of the cup is painted with a moth. The edge of the saucer is decorated with small reserves containing floral sprigs. These are replaced by insects on the teacup. The handle is painted with delicately trailing gilt foliage.

Worcester bird painting of this type, whether they are of panels of Fancy or Agitated birds reserved on a coloured ground, imitates the decoration found on Sèvres and earlier Vincennes pieces, notably the work of the painter François-Joseph Aloncle.

Blue seal marks.

Provenance: N.A. Rose Collection.

Condition: No cracks or restoration, just two very light grazes to the gilt rim of the saucer. There are a couple of small firing blemishes, including one to the footrim of the saucer, and another to the top of the handle. Both pieces have some light kiln speckling to the glaze, a result of several firings (the clay, the enamels and finally the gilding). The enamel and gilt decoration is in excellent order with only very slight wear in places.

Dimensions: Saucer - Diameter 12.8 cm

Worcester Porcelain 1751-1790: The Zorensky Collection, Simon Spero & John Sandon (Antique Collectors' Club, 1996).


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