Purchase, The Charles E. Sampson Memorial Fund, 2000
Not on view
Soft-paste porcelain was first produced in France in the 1690s at a faience (earthenware) factory in Saint Cloud, a small town to the west of Paris. The factory began by copying porcelains imported from China and Japan, but it soon developed its own distinctive style, which was entirely French in character. Much of the factory's production concentrated upon wares decorated with complex, decorative patterns painted in a deep cobalt blue. However, in the 1720s, the factory began experimenting with ground colors, notably green and yellow. The yellow ground proved difficult to master technically, and surviving examples decorated in this manner are rare.
This small jug, which probably dates from the early 1730s, displays the difficulties that the factory was still experiencing at this date with the yellow ground. The color is uneven in thickness and has bonded poorly to the porcelain body in numerous places. Despite its flaws, the jug must have been perceived as highly original when it was produced. The use of European flowers scattered on a yellow ground derived from Chinese ceramics resulted in a style of decoration that was completely novel in European porcelain.
[ Louis Woodford , Bath, until 2000; sold to MMA ]