Pickle Dish or Tray, Worcester, soft paste porcelain, c.1755-58


This pickle dish or tray is finely painted in underglaze blue with the Two-Peony Rock Bird pattern. Leafy scrolls and pendants are arranged around the outer edge. The unusually large size allowed the painter to depict the scene in some detail.

Originating at Limehouse in the mid-1740s, the production of scallop shell dishes spread to Lund's Bristol and then to Worcester, where the fashion for this form suddenly ended in around 1760.

When serving pickle to improve the flavour of meat during the 18th century, underglaze decoration was usually preferred, as the acids contained in the preserves would have had a deleterious effect on any enamel decoration painted over the glaze.

Workman's mark.

Provenance: The Rous Lench Collection.

Condition: Good - there is a small chip to the rim (see penultimate image below) and also a small clay tear to the edge of the shell from manufacture, with a tiny patch of associated discolouring (final image). Typical firing and glazing impurities. No other damage and no restoration.

Dimensions: Height 14.7 cm

Worcester Blue and White Porcelain 1751-1790, Branyan, French & Sandon (Barrie & Jenkins, 1989).


Click on thumbnail above to see larger image