Pair of cups and saucers

  • Maker

    Manufactured by Dihl and Guérhard (1780-1829)

  • Detail

    Porcelain, painted and gilded

    6.3 cm (diameter of cups)

    13.2 cm (diameter of saucers)

    French (Paris), circa 1810-15

  • Marked

    Cups and saucers marked for Dihl and Guérhard, and with Beckford armorials (see right for the mark under one cup)

  • Provenance

    William Beckford; Christie’s, 17 September 1822, Magnificent Effects at Fonthill Abbey, Wilts, fourth day, lot 23 (sale cancelled); presumably the Dukes of Hamilton; Niall Hobhouse; Sotheby’s, Hadspen House, 30 May 1996, lot 868; private collection

  • Literature

    Derek Ostergard, ed., William Beckford 1760-1844: An Eye for the Magnificent, New Haven & London, 2001, no. 49

  • Collection

    Private collection

  • Notes

    Details of the Dihl and Guérhard relationship with Beckford are unknown, and there are no records of payments between this important firm and their distinguished patron; but the set (there were at least eight cups and saucers) appears to have been a special and unconventional commission.  Each richly gilt cup and saucer is painted with different and beautifully observed flower paintings, which would have appealed to Beckford’s interest in horticulture.

    The present cups and saucers are described in the 1822 catalogue as: ‘Two gold ground French cups and saucers, exquisitely painted in roses, and heart-eases, by Van Spandonck.’  The Dutch-born Gerhard van Spandonck (1746-1822) and his brother Cornelis (1756-1839) were among the most influential flower painters working at the time in Paris.  It is not known for certain, however, if these brothers played a role in the production of the Beckford cups and saucers.

    A cup and saucer from the set is in the collection of the British Museum, London and another is in the collection of the Musée des Arts Décoratifs, Paris; three more pairs are in a private collection.

    Only one cup and saucer shown.