'ONE CUP OF PURSSELINE'
A small group of 16th century Iznik pottery, the decoration of which combines Chinese motifs and traditional Ottoman patterns, with London-made silver-gilt mounts dating from about 1580 to the mid 1590s,9 appears to confirm the lively interest shown in England for such intriguing and arresting wares. It is little wonder that Chinese porcelain and Ottoman pottery, so out of the ordinary and so exotically beautiful, should have been collected and their costliness and scarcity emphasized by the addition of lavish silver-gilt mounts.
For a wine cup of silver-gilt mounted blue and white porcelain, by tradition a gift of Mary Queen of Scots to the 2nd Lord North, see The Gilbert Collection on loan to the Victoria and Albert Museum, museum number LOAN:GILBERT 50-2008 (Christie’s, London, 14 July 1993, lot 115, the property of the late Baroness Phillimore)
See also the Lennard Cup, a Ming porcelain bowl with silver-gilt mounts and cover, the mounts maker’s mark FR, London, 1569. This is the earliest recorded example of Chinese porcelain with hallmarked English mounts. (British Museum, number PDF.695; Sotheby’s, London, 28 July 1932, lot 132, purchased by Sir Percival David)
Louise Avery, 'Chinese Porcelain in English Mounts,' The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin, vol. II, issue 9, New York, 1944, pp. 266-272.
Yvonne Hackenbrock, ‘Chinese Porcelain in European silver Mounts,’ The Connoisseur, London, June 1955, pp. 22-29.
Philippa Glanville, Silver in Tudor and Early Stuart England, Victoria and Albert Museum, London, 1990, ch. 19, pp. 340-351.
Gillian Wilson, Mounted Oriental Porcelain in the J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles, revised edition, 1999
1. ‘Notes and observations gathered by Richard Johnson of severall ways from Russia to Cathay over-land,’ 1559, from Richard Hakluyt’s The Principal Navigations, Voyages, Traffiques and Discoveries of the English Nation
2. Formerly in the collection of William Beckford of Fonthill Abbey (1760-1844). Gillian Wilson, Mounted Oriental Porcelain in the J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles, revised edition, 1999, pp. 3 and 4, figs. 2 and 3. The vase, no longer mounted, is now in the National Museum of Ireland, Dublin.
3. Philippa Glanville, Silver in Tudor and Early Stuart England, Victoria and Albert Museum, London, 1990, ch. 19
4. A. Jefferies Collins, editor, Jewels and Plate of Queen Elizabeth I, London, 1955, p. 592, no. 1582
5. Accession no. 68.141.125a/b, the Gift of Irwin Untermyer, 1968
6. Philippa Glanville, op. cit.
7. Regina Krahl in collaboration with Nurdan Erbahar, Chinese Ceramics in the Topkapi Saray Museum, London, vol. II, p. 824, pl. 1658, no. TKS 15/3034
8. Victoria and Albert Museum, museum no. M.16-1970 (Sotheby’s, London, 5 February 1970, lot 169)
9. A particularly good example is the Iznik jug with green, white and black decoration, the silver-gilt mounts maker’s mark IH in a shield, London, 1586, which was sold at Christie’s, London, 19 November 2002, lot 144. Other examples include a jug in the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge, the mounts also maker’s mark IH, London, 1592 (object no. M.16-1948), and a jug in the British Museum, the mounts maker’s mark HB, London, 1597 (museum no. AF.3132)
Sotheby’s gratefully acknowledges the advice during the research and cataloguing of this cup of Philippa Glanville, Regina Krahl and Haydn Williams.
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