David Drummond, the 17th Earl of Perth, son of Eric Drummond and Angela Constable Maxwell, was born into the political milieu; his father was a career diplomat, who had served as private secretary to the Prime Minister Herbert Asquith, attended the Paris peace conference in 1919, and was the first secretary general of the League of Nations, and in late life served as Ambassador to Rome.
David Drummond was educated at Downside and Trinity, Cambridge, and looking to restore the families fortunes, embarked on a banking career at J. Henry Schroder. In these early years he spent some time working in China under Monnet advising the Kuomintang government on economic matters. On the outbreak of war he was sent to Paris to help Noel Coward run a propaganda office, and on the fall of France, returned to England to work in the War Cabinet office and at the Ministry of Production. After the war he went back to Schroders as a director; he succeeded the Earldom in 1951. As both a successful banker and as a man of great integrity, he caught the attention of Harold Macmillan, who made him chair of a government committee on the problem of financing the economic development of the emergent territories and then Minister of State of Colonial Affairs. He was a keen Europhile and became involved in establishing early discussions on the European Economic Community between Edward Heath and Jean Monnet.
In 1962 he left government, taking up various roles; he became the first Crown Estates Commissioner, and served on the Reviewing Committee for Export of Works of Art, and in following years was, amongst other posts, a member of the advisory council of the Victoria and Albert Museums, an enthusiastic member of the Roxburghe Club, a trustee of the National Library of Scotland, a director of the Royal Bank of Scotland, and member of the Court of St. Andrews University. He continued to play an active role in the Lords, espousing Scottish causes, and from the 1960's considerable effort went into the restoration of his family home Stobhall, the castle perched majestically on the banks of the River Tay. He had been fortunate to be able to buy back his ancestral home from the Earl of Ancaster in 1954, and with the help of his wife Nancy, together they set about the restoration of the building. In the final stages of the project, Lord Perth was able to indulge one of his life-long passions - his book collection. Designing and building a wonderful library 'house', perched overlooking the river, he was able to bring together in this delightful setting, his many books and manuscripts, together with his oriental works of art, a field in which he was also highly knowledgeable. The library building was completed in the late 1990s but was soon overflowing, the shelves became double-banked, and the books spilled under the piano. Lord Perth's book collecting interests were wide ranging but in the last decade he concentrated on two fields, Scottish history, particularly the Jacobite cause, and Natural History, notably nature printing. Books from this library are to be offered at Christie's, King Street on the 20 November 2003 .
The arms on the present tureen are those of the Corral family, an eminent Spanish family. A portrait of Dr. Diego Corral by Velasquez is in the Prado Museum, Madrid.
Other armorial tureens of this form, all for the Spanish market, have been published or included in auction catalogues: with the arms of Galvez, in the Mme. Espirito Santo Collection, Lisbon, illustrated by M. Beurdeley, Porcelain of the East India Companies, London, 1962, pp.84-86, colour plate XVII, also illustrated by Lloyd Hyde, Espirito Santo Silva and Malta, Chinese Porcelain for the European Market, Lisbon, 1956, p.31, pl.VI; with the arms of Cervantes, illustrated by Jean McClure Mudge, Chinese Export Porcelain in North America, New York, 1986, p.54, no.62; with the arms of Asteguieta, sold in these Rooms, 16 March 1981, lot 68, with tureens for the same family in the form of a cockerel (lot 69), and a boar's head (lot 70); and with the arms of an unidentified family, probably from Barcelona, sold in these Rooms, 19 June 1967, lot 64. Compare also the cockerel tureen with the arms of Bermúdez, sold Sotheby's New York, 30 January and 1 February, 1986, lot 315, and the boar's head tureen probably with the arms of Zamudio, included in the sale Sotheby's London, 9 May 1986, lot 122. It would seem likely that also a goose tureen would have been made for the Bermúdez and Zamudio families.
Animal tureens made a spectacular accompaniment to table services and were very popular during the mid 18th Century, often accompanied by dishes or stands. Large tureens of the size of the present lot can also be found in the form of cockerels, boars and ox-heads. Smaller vegetable and sauce-tureens are more frequently found in the form of quail, fish, crabs, chickens and ducks. Although all goose tureens with coats-of-arms appear to have been made for the Spanish market, 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 prototypes. According to D. Howard and J. Ayers, China for the West, London and New York, 1978, vol.II, p.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 long necks, as in the present lot, and with slightly shorter necks. A pair of non-armorial geese, described as an assembled pair, in the John T. Dorrance Jr. Collection, sold Sotheby's New York, 20 and 21 October 1989, lot 454, illustrate this variation well, and are described as a goose and a gander. See also the two different models from the Mottahedeh Collection illustrated by Howard and Ayers, China for the West, London and New York, 1978, vol.II, pp.590 and 591, nos. 614 and 615.