This is a wonderful and rare lidded cream pot made by the Bow Porcelain factory in about 1765.

 

The Bow Porcelain Factory was one of the first potteries in Britain to make soft paste porcelain, and most probably the very first to use bone ash, which later got perfected by Josiah Spode to what is now the universally used "bone china". Bow was the main competitor of the Chelsea Porcelain Factory, but where Chelsea made very fine slipcast porcelain, Bow made a different soft paste porcelain that tended to be softer and could be pressed into moulds. Bow served a larger public generally at lower prices. The factory was only in operation between 1743 and 1774, after which the tradition got incorporated into some of the later famous potteries such as Worcester and Derby.

 

This beautiful lidded cream pot was potted in very white bone china in the time that Bow was the first factory using this new porcelain recipe. 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 and it is even rarer to find one in such good condition.

 

The pot 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 of Bow decorations, is the mixture between Oriental and Western decorations; the pot also has some typical Western flower motifs that can be found on many Worster 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 pot is in near-perfect antique condition. The lid 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 to be added

 

SHIPPING I ship worldwide from the UK, mostly by Royal Mail 2nd Class for the UK and International Tracked and Signed for the rest of the world. I am happy to combine shipping charges on multiple items - please contact me to discuss. In principle I do not make a profit on shipping although for simplicity's sake I charge flat shipping fees. If the fee charged greatly exceeds the actual cost I will gladly refund you the difference - at the same time if it is slightly lower I will gladly make up the difference. In some countries shipping will end up significantly more than the expected fees and I will contact you to discuss our options. PLEASE CONTACT ME FOR ANY QUESTIONS REGARDING SHIPPING COSTS AND OPTIONS.

 

Bow lidded cream pot, blue and white Chinese house, ca 1765

SKU: A-BOW07
£495Price
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Covid-19 - we are open for business! 

We can ship normally to most destinations, but some are currently closed.

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