This superb brush pot was formerly in the collection of Chen Keli, a major collector of Yixing wares in the early 20th century. In the preface of his catalogue in which this brush pot is illustrated, Chen recalled that he first developed his passion for Yixing wares through the inspiration from his relative, the pre-eminent late Qing scholar and collector Gong Xinzhao (1870-1949), and that he acquired the bulk of his collection through the dealership Rongbaozhai.
The artist of this brush pot, Yang Jichu, is recorded in Chongkan jingxi xianzhi (The Republished Jingxi Gazetteer), compiled by Tang Zhongmian during the Qing dynasty. Yang is noted as being active during the same period as Chen Hanwen, mid 17th-early 18th century. Like Chen Hanwen, Yang Jichu is famous for his work on Yixing wares, especially those, like the current brush pot, which are painted in coloured slips.
Yixing brush pots decorated with subtle and refined paintings in natural slip colours as seen on the current brush pot are extremely rare. Two slip-painted brush pots decorated in a similar painterly style with landscapes bearing the seals of Yang Jichu are preserved in the Palace Museum, Beijing, and are illustrated in The Complete Collection of Treasures of the Palace Museum - Purple Sandy Ware, Beijing, 2008, nos. 115 and 116. Both are dated to the Qianlong period. Interestingly, the Beijing Palace Museum also has a brush pot painted in similar style with a scholar seated in a thatch-roofed pavilion overlooking a lake beside a willow tree which bears a Qianlong mark, illustrated ibid., no. 113.
Compare also to two other brush pots decorated in similar technique with Yang Jichu seals, one formerly in the Robert H. Blumenfield Collection, sold at Christie's New York, 22 March 2012, lot 1246; the other from the Mr. and Mrs. Gerard Hawthorn Collection, sold at Bonhams Hong Kong, 28 November 2011, lot 208. Yixing brush pots with slip-painted landscape decoration on a dark ground and bearing the seal of Yang Jichu are preserved in the collections of both the Suzhou Museum and the Yangzhou Museum illustrated in Zhongguo taoci quanji -23 -Yixing, Tokyo and Shanghai, nos. 24 and 70, respectively.