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Jingdezhen [Jiangxi Province, China]

Vase with mounts second half of 18th century, mounts: 1807

Porcelain with crackled light blue glaze and gilt bronze | 49 x 23.5 x 22.5 cm (whole object) | RCIN 187

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  • A Chinese porcelain vase with English gilt-bronze mounts. Bottle-shaped, with globular body and waisted cylindrical neck rising from a swelling round the shoulder and with splayed mouth, covered with a lustrous lavender-blue glaze, with an all-over dark crackle. The top of the vase with a broad, circular, spreading rim with milled edge simulating a tightly woven pattern, and with smooth burnished inner part with two raised ridges, in between which is a lozenge-hatched ground. The top rim mount extends inside the neck of the vase to form a cup (unlike its red-glazed companion RCIN 881, the top rim mount of which extends just inside the neck only). Attached to either side of the neck are a pair of gilt-bronze dragons with half-opened wings, coiled tails, and necks reaching over the rim toward each other and peering into the neck. The foot of the vase is supported by a cup of eight shell-like lotus leaves rising from a broadwaisted stem with two-tiered step, which is attached to a square plinth of Maurin Green marble.

    The vase, with crackled glaze of a rare type, was mounted by Vulliamy in 1807, en suite with the red-glazed vase RCIN 881, on which the gilt-bronze dragons are of a slightly different model and inverted. His account reads: ‘For Mounting a very Large Blue Crackled China Bottle in a most sumptuous manner’. Also included in the delivery was a ‘very large blown glass shade to cover the bottle £4 10s’, and a ‘circular stand with a purple wood moulding all around covered with Crimson Genoa Velvet so as totally to exclude the dust @ £2 2.–’ (National Archives C104/58(II), Ledger no. 32, p. 241). Thirteen different craftsmen were employed by the Vulliamys in the creation of the mounts, the cost of both vases totalling £85 19s 11d (National Archives C104/57(I) Ornament Book no. 3, pp. 42–3). On 1 February 1811, Thomas Tatham delivered to Carlton House ‘Two very handsome Pier Tables with Gilt Griffins in the Chinese Style’, destined for the piers of the Bow Room, Principal Floor, and it was probably then that the vases were placed on the lower tier of these tables. The contents of the original Chinese Room (on the Basement Floor) were transferred to the Bow Room, Principal Floor, in 1811. By the time Charles Wild produced his watercolour views of the interiors of Carlton House, c.1816–19, the vases were located on the plinths of small side tables in the piers of the bow of the Rose Satin Drawing Room (Pyne 1819, II, pl. opp. p. 32), where they formed a visual balancing act with the large blue vase, RCIN 64062, as the central focal point.

    Text adapted from Chinese and Japanese Works of Art in the Collection of Her Majesty The Queen: Volume II.
    Provenance

    Supplied to George IV with glass shade and stand by Vulliamy in 1807. The record of delivery to Brighton, 27 March 1819, states that this vase and its companion, RCIN 881, were taken from the Bow Room (Jutsham Dels I.310) and noted in the Music Room at the Royal Pavilion: ‘A fine Jasper blue crackle bottle mounted with broad ormolu lip dragon handles shell cup and moulding circular base on square very antique plinth, nineteen inches [48.3 cm]’ (1829b, p. 19 at the back). They were both sent to Buckingham Palace in March 1847–8 (1829A, p. 20), for the furnishing of the East Wing, and in March 1914 were noted there in the Principal Corridor (Brighton Pavilion Inventory of Clocks and China 1828, p. 67).

    While they were in the Bow Room at Carlton House they were recorded in a watercoour of c.1818, RCIN 922181.

    Exhibited in Carlton House: The Past Glories of George IV’s Palace, The Queen’s Gallery, London, 1991–2 (with cat. 1391); Chinese Whispers: Chinoiserie in Britain, 1650–1930, Brighton Museum and Art Gallery, Brighton, 2008.

  • Medium and techniques

    Porcelain with crackled light blue glaze and gilt bronze

    Measurements

    49 x 23.5 x 22.5 cm (whole object)

  • Place of Production

    Jingdezhen [Jiangxi Province]