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A pony called Bob

I was very lucky to come across some extremely rare Derby porcelain the other day: two tiny coffee cups made by Derby in about 1795. Both have exquisite little landscape paintings; one painted by the famous Zachariah Boreman, and the other by Thomas "Jockey" Hill.

Zachariah Boreman is sometimes called "The king of landscapes". He painted gorgeously fine, crisp and autumnal-tinted landscapes and with Boreman, less is more: he often used very few colours and sometimes painted landscapes in monochrome grey or brown, and still made them full of life with his fine stippled brush strokes.

Boreman arrived at Derby around 1774 after working at Chelsea, and remained until 1794, when he left in frustration with Michael Kean, the owner. Apparently Boreman was a very modest and lovely man and perhaps because he was so modest, Kean never paid him enough, so Boreman eventually packed up to work for Mr Simm’s studio in Pimlico, London.

Here you see a very elegant little coffee cup in simple white with a beautiful mountain landscape, the light touching the side of the mountain and the sky bright yet slightly hazy. The landscape is named on the underside of the cup: "Near Cromford, Derbyshire".

The other cup is a coffee can, and in a very different style; a bold yellow ground, which is very rare for porcelain of this era. Yellow was the most difficult colour to achieve as it was very volatile in the kiln. Most yellow items are very uneven or cloudy, but this little can has an unusually even quality. In a fresh blue "faux-pearled" reserve is a beautiful landscape with cliffs by a river, painted by Thomas "Jockey" Hill.

Hill, who also had been working at Chelsea, came to work at Derby in 1794 to replace Zachariah Boreman after he moved back to London. Like Boreman, Hill specialised in landscapes and his style is very similar to Boreman's: landscapes, often in brown and green muted colours; but his brush style is slightly different and his drawing often a little less detailed. And also like Boreman, Hill did not get along with Michael Kean so he returned to London in 1800 to work with his father, a well-known artist also called Thomas Hill.

And what about the name Jockey, you ask? Well, this is quite literal: Mr Hill would ride to work every morning on his pony called Bob.

Where to find things

I have several wonderful Derby additions to my stock, which I will write about in the next few weeks... you can find them here. All my available stock can be found here. If you always want to see the latest additions, follow me on Instagram... I post pictures and a story every single day.

Wish List ❤️

Don't forget, you can now create your own profile on the site and keep a wish list. Click on the Log In icon at the top right of each page.

Happy weekend, and go ride your pony! 💛🏇💛

A rare plaque painted by Jockey Hill in about 1795, credit Bonhams


This week's new treasures:​



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