Porcelain, mounted with silver-gilt
11.5 cm (diameter)
Chinese, eighteenth century (the porcelain)
English (London), 1811–12 (the mounts)
Mounts with mark of John Robins (fl. 1771–1831); seal mark and paper labels ‘VJB’ and ‘OP.M’
William Beckford (1760–1844); thence by descent to his daughter Susanna Euphemia, Duchess of Hamilton (1786–1859); thence by descent to her grandson William, 12th Duke of Hamilton; Christie’s, Hamilton Palace Sale, 20 June 1882, lot 242, bt Christopher Becket Denison (1825–84); Christie’s, 11 June 1885, lot 588, bt Kidson for William James (1854–1912), and by descent to the Edward James Foundation; Christopher Gibbs (1938–2018) and sold by his executors, Christie’s, 4 July 2019, lot 134
Michael Snodin and Malcolm Baker, ‘William Beckford Silver’, parts 1 and 2, The Burlington Magazine, November 1980, pp. 734–48 and December 1980, pp. 820–34
Derek Ostergard, ed., William Beckford: An Eye for the Magnificent, New Haven & London, 2001, p. 323, no. 37
H. Blairman & Sons, Regency Furniture and Works of Art, 2020 (online catalogue), no. 5
As Christopher Hartop notes (Ostergard, loc. cit.), this bowl ‘is the earliest known of a series of sugar basins and cream jugs, belonging to Beckford, created by applying silver-gilt mounts to Asian porcelain’. The famille noire decoration, perfected in China during the second quarter of the eighteenth century, is exceptionally fine when compared with most of the more commonplace porcelain used on the rest of this series of mounted objects. This style of porcelain was usually destined for the southeast Asian market.
Beckford himself, in conjunction with Gregorio Franchi (1769/70–1828), conceived the mounts. The heavy foot rim is necessary to support the weight of the unique silver-gilt interior to the bowl. The bowl is marked with Beckford’s coat of arms surrounded by martlets, one of Beckford’s heraldic badges.
A Japanese silver-gilt mounted porcelain bowl and cover, with the same historic provenance, was with Blairman’s in 2016: https://blairman.co.uk/stock/covered-bowl/.