Rare Armorial Jug, Derby, soft paste porcelain, c.1760


This rare Derby jug is painted with a version of the arms of the Worshipful Company of Painter-Stainers within a puce rococo cartouche, surrounded by trailing flowers. The sides of the jug are decorated with birds on leafy branches, and the neck is painted with flying insects below a red-brown rim. The grooved scroll handle is decorated with a leaf thumb rest, and an insect is painted beside both handle terminals.

The globular or 'gorge' shape, short cylindrical neck and turned footrim, is similar in form to the so-called 'Dutch' jugs produced by Worcester in the 1750s.

Three typical patch marks can be seen on the unglazed base, the result of resting the item on clay balls or pads in the kiln. This was to prevent it from sticking to the kiln during firing.


Existing separately from 1283 and 1400 respectively, the Guilds of Painters and Stainers were merged in 1502, to form the Worshipful Company of Painter-Stainers.

The arms should be blazoned as: Quarterly 1&4 Azure [blue] three Escutcheons Argent [silver or white], 2&3 Azure a Chevron between three Phoenix Heads erased Or [gold] beaked Gules [red].

Here, the painter has transposed the colours within two of the quarters on this jug, perhaps in order to improve the appearance of the arms. Another jug is recorded with the same arms but using underglaze blue for the surrounding cartouche (Albert Amor, 2002).

Provenance: Mercury Antiques, London; exhibited in the English Ceramic Circle Armorials Loan Exhibition, 2008.

Condition: A filled rim chip to the neck and a restored crack to the lower handle terminal. There are three short lines in the thick, gas-filled glaze around the neck, and some crazing to the pooled glaze inside the jug and around the upper handle terminal, although this all results from manufacture.

Dimensions: Height 17 cm

John Twitchett, Derby Porcelain 1748-1848, Antique Collectors' Club, 2002.

Albert Amor exhibition catalogue, 2002.



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