This Grecian krater-shaped basin, en suite with a ewer, soap dish and toothbrush holder, was designed by the sculptor/cabinet-maker George Bullock (d. 1818) for Napoleon's use at New Longwood House, St. Helena. His design for a related ewer and basin remains in the Howe Papers at the British Museum (British Library, Ad. Mss 20. 222. folio 234). The wreath of laurels, however, within its Etruscan/Pompeian red border was so redolent of the victor that it was deemed highly inappropriate decoration for a 'chamber service' commissioned by George, Prince of Wales, later King George IV for his defeated enemy. As a result of this rejection the basin forms part of one of several 'chamber services complete bordered' supplied to Matthew Robinson Boulton (d. 1842) for Tew Park, Oxfordshire. These were invoiced by Bullock in 1817 at a cost of 3 guineas each.
As the Times article of 24 October 1815 entitled 'House and Furniture for Buonaparte' revealed:- 'The table services have been provided by Mr Bullock, from the most eminent manufacturers in the Kingdom, and consist of the fairest, though not the most extravagant, specimens of our own proficiency in the various walks of mechanism and art.
Further pieces from Napoleon's 'Chamber Service' were acquired at Tew by the Walker Art Gallery, Merseyside. A related ewer and basin, perhaps supplied to Endsleigh for John, 6th Duke of Bedford was sold in Two Ducal Collections, Woburn Abbey, Christie's House Sale, 21 September 2004, lot 374. Subsequently published by Jonathan Horne, English Pottery 2005, pp. 28-29, no. 05/28, the author refers to two amphorae and an ewer, formerly in the collection of the potter Enoch Wood and sold by a direct descendant, Christie's London, 12 July 1982, lots 119 and 120 (not illustrated), as supporting evidence of a probable Enoch Wood attribution.