A West Pans Vase and Cover, circa 1765

This rococo vase of inverted pear shape, with its flower-encrusted cover, was manufactured by William Littler at West Pans, Scotland. Littler had earlier been responsible for porcelain production at Longton Hall, Staffordshire, however after the factory closed for financial reasons, he moved north to Scotland and attempted to make porcelain a second time. Haggarty illustrates a similar vase and cover, as well as a pair of vases of similar shape, decorated in underglaze blue.

Encrusted flowers on the cover include anemones, carnations and roses. A large naturalistic bouquet is painted on either side of the vase, containing a pink and yellow rose, amongst other smaller flowers. One bouquet also has a large pink rosebud. The moulded shoulder and sides of the vase are decorated with an overglaze purple lilac enamel, showing the remains of gilt decoration in places.

Provenance: Invercauld Castle, Royal Deeside, Scotland.

Condition: Good – no cracks or restoration. The cover is lacking three flowers, and there are typical losses to other encrusted flowers, as well as wear to the gilt decoration. There are clay tears and firing cracks where the flower decoration has been applied to the body. Manufacturing faults such as these are often seen on the largely experimental West Pans porcelain. The flower painter appears to have painted a group of leaves on the shoulder in an attempt to disguise a potting flaw. This was common practice at porcelain factories such as Longton Hall, Chelsea and Derby.

All Scottish porcelain is rare, and this vase and cover would make a charming addition to any collection of 18th century wares.

Dimensions: Height (to top of cover) approximately 30 cm

Out of the Blue: 18th Century Scottish Porcelain, George R. Haggarty (Museum of Edinburgh / The City of Edinburgh Council, 2008).

Longton Hall Porcelain, Bernard Watney (Faber and Faber, 1957).

Excavations at the Longton Hall porcelain manufactory. Part III: the porcelain and other ceramic finds, Bernard M. Watney (Post-Medieval Archaeology, Volume 27, 1993).