THE ROBERT H. BLUMENFIELD COLLECTION OF ARMORIAL MUGS
Those who know Robert Blumenfield as a particularly discerning and knowledgeable collector of esoteric Chinese arts for the scholar's table, or from his important monograph Blanc de Chine, The Great Porcelain of Dehua (Ten Speed Press, Berkeley, 2002), may be surprised to learn that he has also formed a notable collection of Chinese mugs with British coats-of-arms. Twenty-five years ago, when Blumenfield first began haunting the top shops and salerooms of London, these showpieces of East-West interaction intrigued him, and, guided by the great dealer David Howard, he slowly built a collection of carefully selected examples. They display the arms handsomely; their three-dimensional forms, taken from European ceramics and metalwork, add interest; and they often carry fascinating associations, like the great pair ordered by Admiral Hughes. Now that Blumenfield is becoming more involved in French decorative arts, however, and re-installing some of his collections, there is no longer appropriate space for the mug collection. So it is being dispersed, so that others may share the pleasure of owning and displaying these handsome pieces of the China Trade.