Page 1

SIMON SPERO

The Chelsea Goat and Bee creamjug, no. 1, is perhaps the most iconic and idiosyncratic of all pieces of early English porcelain. It stands apart from the mainstream production of the triangle period, both in the delicacy and thinness of its potting and in the intricacy and incongruity of its design, conceived perhaps as a promotional device, with no pretensions to utility. For consumers accustomed only to the available Chinese porcelain, it must indeed have provided a fascinating source of both curiosity and admiration.

Hardly less innovative in its conception is the fine Longton Hall bowl and stand, no. 2, painted by the anonymous ‘Castle Painter’, an example of what might be termed provincial rococo, inspired by Meissen but modulated in a distinctly Staffordshire rhythm. Envisaged for the dessert course, the asymmetric contours of the bowl fit unexpectedly comfortably around the fingers as a practical pouring vessel.

The theme of my Spring exhibition this year was Bow porcelain from the 1750s. The 50 exhibits were drawn from an extensive collection of over 120 pieces and a further selection is included in my display for Eight Days in June. As in the exhibition, botanical decoration features prominently. Somewhat rarer than its Chelsea counterparts, Bow botanical decoration tends to be executed with more freedom and fluidity and in some respects, with more artistic assuredness. The delightful pair of octagonal dishes, no. 3, depicts roses with related leaves, but an incorrect number of leaflets. A more exuberant style, still further removed from the more familiar Chelsea idiom, is evident on the small Bow plate, no. 4. The courgette with yellow flowers, leaves and tendrils is quite accurately depicted, the tendrils laid out with a rococo flourish. More problematical is the octagonal dish, no. 5, which may be either Anemone Coronaria or more possibly Paeonia lactiflora, although the leaves are more rose-like and the buds grafted on from another plant.

These naturalistic themes, conceived for the dessert course, are echoed by the striking pair of Bow partridge boxes, no. 6. The seated lions, no. 7, sharing both the period and the palette of ‘The Muses Modeller’, are altogether more fearsome and wild-eyed than their benign undecorated counterparts. They are accompanied by a group of smaller Bow animals comprising a slightly mournful hound, no. 8, a recumbent calf, no. 9, and a diminutive monkey engaged in eating a nut, no. 10.

From a recently purchased collection of blue and white porcelain comes an exceedingly rare Longton Hall coffee jug, no. 11, a Worcester bowl decorated with the celebrated ‘Eloping Bride’ pattern, no. 12, and a beautifully potted teabowl and saucer painted in the unaffected sketchy manner so characteristic of Vauxhall, no. 13. And, as a lifelong collector of blue and white porcelain, should I be reluctantly confined to one single piece, I would happily choose the wonderful early Lowestoft cider jug, no. 14. It encompasses in its majestic contours and artless uninhibited decoration, all that I admire in a piece of English blue and white. -18-


SIMON SPERO

1. Chelsea Goat and Bee creamjug c.1745-47 -19-


SIMON SPERO

2. Longton Hall bowl and stand. The ‘Castle Painter’ c.1756-58

-20-


SIMON SPERO

3. Bow botanical plates c.1758 -21-


SIMON SPERO

4. Bow botanical plate c.1758-62

5. Bow botanical plate. c. 1758 -22-


SIMON SPERO

6. Pair of Bow partridge boxes c.1754-56 -23-


SIMON SPERO

7. Pair of Bow lions c.1750-53

8, 9 and 10 Bow animals c.1755-58 -24-


SIMON SPERO

11. Blue and white Longton Hall coffee jug c.1758 -25-


SIMON SPERO

12. Blue and white Worcester bowl. “Eloping Bride” pattern c.1765

13. Blue and white Vauxhall teabowl and saucer c.1756-60 -26-


SIMON SPERO

14. Early Lowestoft cider jug c.1759-60 -27-

Simon Spero  

Antique Porcelain

Read more
Read more
Similar to
Popular now
Just for you