Lot 330 / Sale 7964
an extremely rare <i>famille rose</i> goose tureen, cover and married stand

Price Realized £115,250
Sales totals are hammer price plus buyer’s premium and do not reflect costs, financing fees or application of buyer’s or seller’s credits.

  • £100,000 - £150,000
  • ($163,700 - $245,550)

Sale Information Sale 7964
Fine Chinese Ceramics and Works of Art
10 May 2011
London, King Street

The resting bird modelled with short serpentine neck and wing feathers tucked over its back in front of the upturned tail, very finely enamelled with a garland of brightly enamelled composite flowers around its neck, and larger sprays of rose across its back, the yellow beak delicately detailed with iron-red markings, the crown picked out in puce enamel and the feathers in shades of sepia with gilt spines, the wing feathers formed in two layers, the upper feathers strikingly and unusually enamelled in turquoise and blue, and the lower feathers in dark grisaille with gilt markings, the webbed feet carefully enamelled in yellow, iron-brown, and sepia with gilt splashes; and an oval stand boldly and finely enamelled with an insect on a cluster of exotic flowers below a formal scroll band and further floral sprays
The tureen 15½ in. (39.5 cm.) long; the stand 17 in. (43.2 cm.) wide


Provenance Letitia Rose (1751-1823), of Cotterstock Manor, Northamptonshire.
Margaret Maskelyne, of Basset Down, Wiltshire; and thence by descent.

Literature M. Arnold-Forster, Basset Down, An Old Country House, London, n.d., p. 97, pl. 18, and p. 31.

Lot Notes In Basset Down, An Old Country House, p.31, Mary Arnold-Forster, granddaughter of Mary Maskelyne, explains that Letitia Rose, who later became Lady Booth, had a love of adventure when she was young, and used to enjoy visiting the London Docks and City warehouses to seek out Chinese porcelain which she highly admired when it arrived in ships from the East. It was on one of these expeditions, which were considered very unusual for a young lady at that time, that she purchased the goose tureen being offered here. On her death, it was inherited by her niece, Mary Maskelyne, and has remained in the family ever since.

This goose tureen is particularly unusual with its brightly enamelled garland of flowers around the neck and rose sprays across its back. Similarly decorated animal tureens do not appear to be recorded but a few related Qianlong period animals are known, which have floral decoration to their bodies, and these include a small famille rose duck tureen and cover, sold in these Rooms, 7 May 1953, lot 25; a pair of figures of hares with European-style flowers amongst the paler hair markings also sold in these Rooms, 1 October 1957, lot 21, and illustrated by A. du Boulay Christie's Pictorial History of Chinese Ceramics, Oxford, 1984, p. 297, fig. 8; an ox-head tureen decorated with scattered flowers from the collection of H.H. The Prince de Ligne, sold Sotheby's London, 28 May 1968, lot 226; another similar tureen, or possibly the same one, together with a married stand, from the collection of Mrs. Coila Hickman Nesle, which was sold Parke-Bernet Galleries Inc., New York, 16 October 1969, lot 100; and yet another was sold in these rooms, 19 March 1979, lot 75. See also Chinese models of cows, which were based on Dutch Delft or possibly Meissen originals, and which sometimes bear a floral garland around their necks. One such example from the Hodroff Collection is illustrated by D. S. Howard, The Choice of the Private Trader, London, 1994, no. 334, and a pair, again with floral garlands, is in the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam.

Animal tureens made a spectacular accompaniment to table services and were widely popular during the mid-18th Century, often accompanied by dishes or stands. It is recorded that the Dutch East India Company ordered twenty-five goose tureens for stock in 1765. In 1803, a pair of white-glazed goose tureens and covers were given to the East India Marine Society of Salem, now the Peabody Essex Museum, by Captain Ward Blackler, suggesting a popularity of the form with the American market as well (see Jean McClure Mudge, Chinese Export Porcelain for the American Trade 1785-1835, East Brunswick, 1981, p.160, fig.74).

Although obviously derived from European ceramic models, which became increasingly fashionable in the 1740s, it is not possible to ascertain the actual prototype. According to D. Howard and J. Ayers, China for the West, London and New York, 1978, vol.II, pp. 590-592, the faience models produced in the Strasbourg factory under the influence of Adam von Löwenfinck from 1750-54 represent the most likely originals for the Chinese examples.

Goose tureens were made with both short necks, as in the present lot, and with slightly longer necks. For these two slightly different models see Howard and Ayers, op.cit., nos. 614 and 615 for the two examples in the Mottahedeh Collection, and p. 592 where the authors write "Chinese production of the tureens probably continued over two decades or more, and it seems reasonable to suppose that the earliest examples would be those displaying a highly naturalistic style."

While the exquisite example in this lot displays the 'highly naturalistic style' referred to above, the brightly enamelled flowers, complemented by the brilliant turquoise and blue enamels of the wing feathers give it a highly decorative appearance which is combined with fine quality enamelling. One can speculate that perhaps this tureen was an early example of its type, and that the exotic decoration proved to be both expensive and time-consuming, so that subsequent orders demanded that the flowers be omitted.

Post-Lot Text END OF SALE

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