The appearance of the documentary inkpot at Christie's King Street, sold 9th October 1989, signed Ja Welsh, was confirmation of the known contemporary accounts of a painter of that name working at Bow, and is among the very few pieces of Bow porcelain that may be attributed with certainty to a definite hand. It has been noted by Elizabeth Adams and David Redstone in 'Bow Porcelain' (London, 1991) that James Welsh and his wife Elizabeth were recorded as being at Chelsea in 1750 when their daughter Elizabeth was baptised. By 1753 they were at Bow, where their second daughter, Charlotte, was christened in January 1753, followed by a son in August 1754. Welsh was buried at Hornsey in April 1962. On the basis of the inkpot it has been possible to suggest other pieces that appear to belong to his oeuvre. These were identified and published by Tony Stevenson, 'James Welsh: A Bow porcelain painter revealed', Apollo, January 1993, pp. 12-17. He there describes and illustrates the documentary inkpot (Pl I) but also a basket closely similar to the present lot with the same bouquet, dragon-fly and heartsease so typical of Welsh's style (Pl. III and fig. 11). There is a pair of these in the Herbert Allen Collection in the Victoria & Albert Museum (C. 182+A- 1935), one with a painter's numeral 5 in iron-red as in the present lot; see Bernard Rackham, 'Catalogue of The Herbert Allen Collection of English Porcelain' (London, 1923), Pl. 7, no. 1. Stevenson, however, considered there were other painters working very closely in Welsh's style. The pair of baskets offered here, lot 384, are perhaps by another hand, perhaps that which painted the rare octagonal two-handled tray in the Schreiber Collection in the Victoria & Albert Museum (Sch. I.74).
A pair of similar baskets, almost certainly by Welsh, was sold at Sotheby's New York on 21 October 1999, lot 155.