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Porcelain 1573–1620; mounts ca. 1585
Chinese with British (London) mounts
Porcelain, silver-gilt
H. 13 5/8 in. (34.6 cm)
Metalwork-Silver In Combination
Credit Line:
Rogers Fund, 1944
Accession Number:
  • Description

    In the sixteenth century Chinese porcelain was occasionally brought to England, sometimes by way of the Levant, sometimes by sea around the Cape of Good Hope. As it was very rare and considered a special treasure, the most accomplished English silversmiths were often commissioned to make mounts for it. Pieces such as these were regarded as suitable for royal gifts or for the furnishing of princely houses.

    The ewer shown here is one of a group of Chinese porcelains of the Wan Li period (1575–1619) with silver-gilt mounts made by an unidentified English silversmith about 1585. They were all acquired by the Museum from the estate of J.P. Morgan.

  • Signatures, Inscriptions, and Markings

    Marking: [on lid, on shoulder band, and twice on plain band above base, stamped]: three trefoils voided within a shaped shield (maker's mark)

  • Provenance

    possibly William Cecil, Lord Burghley , Burghley House, Stamford, Northamptonshire (until 1598 (?)) ; possibly bequeated to Thomas Cecil, 1st Earl of Exeter Burghley House, Stamford (from 1598 (?)) ; possibly Sir Walter Raleigh (until 1597 (?); recently suggested, however, that bequeathed instead by Sir Walter Raleigh in 1597 to Lord Burghley's younger son Robert, 1563–1612); possibly Robert Cecil Cecil family, Burghley House, Stamford, Northamptonshire (from 1597?); William Alleyne Cecil, 3rd Marquis of Exeter Burghley House, Stamford, Northamptonshire, England (until 1888; Exeter sale, Christie's, London, June 7–8, 1888, lots 56-59; sold to Agnew); William Agnew , London (from 1888) ; J. Pierpont Morgan , New York ; J. P. Morgan Jr. , New York, (until 1944; sold by estate to MMA)

  • See also
    In the Museum
    Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History