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Arita, Hizen province [Japan]

Pair of vases with mounts vases: 1670-90, mounts: early 18th century

Porcelain painted in enamels in Kakiemon-style enamels and gilt bronze | 42.0 x 18.5 x 18.5 cm (whole object) | RCIN 39236

King's Dining Room, Windsor Castle

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  • A pair of Japanese porcelain jars and covers with French gilt-bronze mounts. So-called ‘Hampton Court’ jars, hexagonal, and ovoid in form, with flat, tapering sides, short, straight, hexagonal neck and flat, unglazed base; the matching low, domed covers with a button knob. Unusually, they form a ‘matched pair’, with the same designs executed in reverse. Painted across two adjoining faces is a design with a lady standing by a chrysanthemum plant holding in one hand, a spray, and in the other, a fan, wearing a green robe, a blue jacket and, on her head, a brown scarf; a blue-and-green leaf border separates this design from the next two faces, across which are painted a yellow bird perched on a slender branch of bamboo, and another rising to greet it from plants and rocks below; the third design is of a blue peafowl perched in a brown pine tree with its pair descending. In a band round the shoulder is a spiky leaf scroll in blue and green with, at alternate corners, three quatrefoil panels displaying phoenixes with outspread wings in red and yellow, and round the neck a key-fret border in red. The cover is painted to match the shoulder. Each with moulded gilt-bronze lip to the cover and neck of the vase, with corresponding rim with foliate-cast underside. The foot of each vase is supported on a gilt-bronze stand with a thin frieze of vertical reeding on six cabriole legs, with three acanthus husks on the ‘knee’ of each leg; the lower part is wrapped in acanthus, ending in a hairy cloven foot which rests on a concave, six-sided, shallow base of burnished and matt gilded surface.

    An identical pair, unmounted, is at Hampton Court Palace (see RCIN 1094.1-2). A pair of similar jars, said to have descended from William IV to his illegitimate daughter Lady Augusta Fitzclarence (1803–65), and thus perhaps formerly part of the Royal Collection, was sold at Christie’s (1980).

    Japanese porcelains of the late seventeenth century painted in this harmonious and colourful palette are generously represented in the Royal Collection, especially at Hampton Court Palace (see RCIN 1094.1-2, 1178.1-2, 1050.1-2, 1047.1-2, 1110.1-2). They were perhaps the most admired of all imported wares of their time, and in consequence were extensively copied, first at Meissen in Germany, and thereafter at many other early porcelain factories in Europe.

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

    Provenance

    Probably George IV, by 1807. Jutsham Recs I.9 records at Carlton House: ‘Mr.Vulliamy. A Pair of Sexagon Japan China Jars, with Chinese mountings in Or moulu. June 11th 1807’. Recorded at the Royal Pavilion, Brighton, in House No. 8, Drawing Room, as ‘A Pair of hexagon Jars & Covers, enamelled Trees, Flowers Birds & borders, ormolu rims and stands, with scroll feet, sixteen inches [40.6 cm]’ (1829B, p. 101); sent to Buckingham Palace in 1847 (1829A, p. 11); and listed in the ‘1866’ Windsor Castle Inventory, pp. 412–13, no. 741, in the State Apartments Picture Gallery (now known as the Queen’s Drawing Room), with a note that they were at the Royal Pavilion in the reign of George IV. Recorded in the Picture Gallery at Windsor Castle in April 1914 (Brighton Pavilion Inventory of Clocks and China 1828, p. 123).

  • Medium and techniques

    Porcelain painted in enamels in Kakiemon-style enamels and gilt bronze

    Measurements

    42.0 x 18.5 x 18.5 cm (whole object)