This is a wonderful and rare cream pot with cover made by Derby in about 1765. This dish has caused confusion as the Bow factory made exactly the same dish!


The Derby Porcelain factory has its roots in the late 1740s, when Andrew Planché, a Walloon Huguenot refugee, started making simple porcelain toys shaped like animals in his back yard. In 1756 Staffordshire enameller William Duysbury and banker John Heath started a new porcelain factory with Planché and this was to grow out to the largest factory of its time, buying up the bankrupted Chelsea and Bow factories, as well as the stock of several other workshops including that of James Giles. The combination of various traditions, porcelain making skills and sophisticated clients enabled Duesbury to create one of the best porcelain factories of the 18th and 19th Centuries, which after many ups and downs is still operative today. 


This beautiful cream pot with cover was potted in very white china. The potting is clean and nice, with a quatrefoil (square) shape. The lid has a spoon cavity and a very charming finial in the shape of a cherry; a detail that has later been used by Spode. These cream pots are rare particularly in blue and white as Derby did not make that much; it is even rarer to find one in such good condition.


The dish is decorated with an underglaze bright blue Chinoiserie decoration of what looks like the pattern now called "desirable residence"; a two-story Chinese pagoda house among trees and rocks. What is different from that well-known pattern though are the two birds, one of which could be phoenix judging by its long neck and upright position. In Chinese symbolism, the phoenix has a different meaning than in the West, where it stands for resurrection from destruction and disaster; in China it is a much more benign fantastical bird that brings prosperity and good luck.


Whatever the original meaning of the Chinese origin of this image, it is beautifully painted. What is interesting about this decoration, and typical for this period, is the mixture between Oriental and Western decorations; the dish also has some typical Western flower motifs that can be found on many Worcester items of the same period, and the border around the rims is a simple printed one of Western origin.


The most striking part of the item is of course the finial, finely encrusted as a cherry with some leaves around it, and deeply coloured.


CONDITION REPORT The dish and cover are in near-perfect antique condition. The cover has one small chip off the underside of the inner rim, and a small crack on the inside coming off the spoon cavity, not really visible from the outside thanks to the colours. Both issues are not visible when in position. There is a little chip off the encrusted foliage on the lid. There is no crazing and no other wear and the colours are very fresh.


Antique British porcelain is never perfect. Kilns were fired on coal in the 1800s, and this meant that china from that period can have some firing specks from flying particles. British makers were also known for their experimentation, and sometimes this resulted in technically imperfect results. Due to the shrinkage in the kiln, items can have small firing lines or develop crazing over time, which should not be seen as damage but as an imperfection of the maker's recipes, probably unknown at the time of making. Items have often been used for many years and can have normal signs of wear, and gilt can have signs of slight disintegration even if never handled. I will reflect any damage, repairs, obvious stress marks, crazing or heavy wear in the item description but some minor scratches, nicks, stains and gilt disintegration can be normal for vintage items and need to be taken into account.


There is widespread confusion on the internet about the difference between chips and nicks, or hairlines and cracks. I will reflect any damage as truthfully as I can, i.e. a nick is a tiny bit of damage smaller than 1mm and a chip is something you can easily see with the eye; a glazing line is a break in the glazing only; hairline is extremely tight and/or superficial and not picked up by the finger; and a crack is obvious both to the eye and the finger. Etcetera - I try to be as accurate as I can and please feel free to ask questions or request more detailed pictures!


DIMENSIONS 15cm x 13.2cm (6" X 5.25"); 11cm (4.3") high incl. cover.

Derby cream pot with cover, blue and white Desirable Residence, ca 1765

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