A Chelsea Seal Fob, circa 1755

This Chelsea seal fob is modelled as Cupid, half-seated on a tree stump and holding a tankard in his left hand. His bow and quiver are leaning against the stump and a red heart is at his feet. The motto in grey reads J’EN CHERCHE UN (I’m looking for one).

Tiny fob seals such as this, often richly decorated and mounted in gold, were made for wealthy aristocrats to give as gifts and love tokens.

This model does not appear to be recorded in the literature, however, it almost certainly relates to the series of seal fobs depicting Cupid drinking alcohol. This may represent him in a state of inebriation, as he looks a little unsteady on his feet and would be spilling the contents of his tankard. 

Provenance: A Private Collection. 

Condition: The gilt and enamel decoration is good, his long wings being very nicely decorated. No damage or restoration, just a glazed dimple to the edge of the base from manufacture, and the mounts and seal are lacking.

Dimensions: Height 2.8 cm

The Chelsea Porcelain Toys: Scent-bottles, Bonbonnieres, Etuis, Seals and Statuettes, made at the Chelsea Factory, 1745-1769 & Derby Chelsea, 1770-1784, G.E. Bryant (The Medici Society, 1925).

Chelsea Porcelain, Elizabeth Adams (The British Museum Press, 2001).