A rare WorcesterSmoky Primitive’ Pickle Shell, circa 1753-54

This rare and early Worcester pickle shell is decorated with the ’Smoky Primitive’ print of The Flute Lesson. This print derives from a detail taken from Nicolas Lancret’s 1743 painting in the Louvre, La leçon de flûte, ou le maître gallant (see final image).

Overglaze prints of this type were only applied to this shape for two or three years during the early-to-mid-1750s.

Paper label for the Frank Arnold Collection.


Provenance: The Frank Arnold Collection. After his death, Arnold’s important and highly regarded porcelain collection was sold by Sotheby’s in 1964 and 1965; a Private Collection in the Home Counties.

Condition: There are small losses to the rim, but no cracks or restoration. There is a tiny flaw above the printed tree, which probably occurred when a small impurity was ejected during the biscuit firing, and then subsequently glazed. The grey paste has that wonderfully tactile quality of the early period.

Dimensions: 8.3 cm across at the widest point

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

Penny Plain, Twopence Coloured: Transfer Printing on English Ceramics 1750-1850, Pat Halfpenny, Ed. (1994).