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Jar and cover mounted as a pot-pourri jar and cover: 1720-40, mounts: mid-18th century

Porcelain with celadon glaze painted in white slip and underglaze blue and gilt bronze | 34.6 x 31.7 x 21.6 cm (whole object) | RCIN 2306

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  • A Chinese porcelain jar and cover with French gilt-bronze mounts. The ovoid jar cut down at the shoulder, with low foot and plain glazed base, painted round the sides in white outlined in blue, with a pine tree and bamboo growing by rocks, a deer and two birds, and on the reverse, a deer by a prunus tree, thus evoking the symbolism of the Three Friends of Winter. The cover, with a slender reeded band and another with a gadrooned edge securing the flat top of the original porcelain cover, painted with a prunus spray in white and blue, with a gilt-bronze flower-spray finial. A deep gilt-bronze band is fitted to the mouth rim, with pounced ground cartouches between C-scroll apertures, to emit the fragrance. Attached to the rim band at each side are a pair of bifurcated handles in the form of double acanthus stems rising from the base, which is composed of further acanthus stems and foliage raised on elaborately scrolled acanthus feet.

    After importation into France the jar was mounted as a pot-pourri with six separate gilt bronze castings, probably made by the lost-wax process and very well chased and burnished. The eight 'eyes' in the neck mount allowed the escape of the scent contained within the jar.

    In the inventory of Madame de Pompadour's possessions taken after her death in 1764, her apartments at the Hôtel d'Evreux in Paris contained (in the 'première antichambre') 'un pot-pourri d'ancienne porcelaine Celadon avec des desseins bleus, garnis de deux ances de bronze doré' valued at 100 livres. A further pair of similar vases was included in the L.-J. Gaignat sale of 1769.

    Text adapted from a catalogue entry in Royal Treasures, A Golden Jubilee Celebration, London 2002 and Chinese and Japanese Works of Art in the Collection of Her Majesty The Queen: Volume II.

    Almost certainly George IV. The Royal Pavilion, Brighton: ‘A Pot Pourri Bowl & Cover Sea green, blue and white Trees & Flowers, ormolu flower top, pierced rim, scroll handles & base fourteen inches [35.6 cm]’ (1829B, p. 110); sent in March 1847 to Buckingham Palace (1829A, p. 14). Also probably that listed in store in the 1826 inventory of Brighton Pavilion as 'A Pot Pourri bowl & cover sea green, blue & white trees & flowers ormolu flower top pierced rim scroll handles & base 14 In'.

    Exhibited in Royal Treasures, The Queen’s Gallery, London, 2002.

  • Medium and techniques

    Porcelain with celadon glaze painted in white slip and underglaze blue and gilt bronze


    34.6 x 31.7 x 21.6 cm (whole object)

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