Chine de commande - Armorial / Pseudo-Armorial wares 1700-1800 - Armorial - English
Height 62 mm (2.44 inch), diameter of rim 57 mm (2.24 inch), diameter of footring 26 mm (1.02 inch), weight 90 grams (3.17 ounce (oz.))
Cup with handle on footring. Decorated in iron-red, blue, purple and (unusual) lime green enamels and gold with the arms and crest of Sir John Lambert, Bt., the reverse with a basket with ribbons and tassels filled with finger-lemon fruit also called 'Buddha's-hand citron, divided by a flywhisk and ruyi sceptre (Daoist symbols) amongst flowers prays. Round the foot and inner rim a spiked palings border and on the outer rim a foliage border. On the base an old rectangular paper label.
The arms are those of Sir John Lambert, created a baronet in 1711. One of the twenty-eight directors of the South Sea Company, founded the same year, Lambert became wealthy by his unscrupulous handling of the company's affairs. He was involved in the selling of fictitious stock, bribing royal mistresses with shares at favourable rates, and juggling the books. His name also occurs in Dutch accounts as agent for speculators in Amsterdam. Lambert tried to cash in on the bubble mania by proposing a company of his own, a whale fishery in Greenland but this was in July 1720: the South Sea Bubble was about to burst, and his petition was refused. The directors were held responsible for the collapse, and after a public inquiry their estates were confiscated. Of this newly acquired wealth valued at 72,508 GPB, Lambert lost all but 5,000 GBP. He died in February 1723. (Corbeiller 1974, p.46)
The service to which the octagonal dish in China Trade Porcelain: Patterns of Exchange, (C. le Corbeiller, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York 1974), pp.46-47, cat. 20 belongs is typical of the armorial wares made for the English and French markets between about 1720 and 1730. The decoration at this comparatively early stage of the porcelain trade was still essentially Oriental, the European armorials in no way interfering with the traditional K'ang Hsi arrangement of borders and symbols. The Lambert service, which must date before 1723 and was probably ordered at the height of Sir John's financial success or about 1720, appears to be the earliest of this type. All comparable and datable services fall within the ensuing decade. Although the decorative style of export porcelains showed little Western influence at this period, the shapes of individual pieces were generally copied from contemporary examples in silver; the moulding on the rim of the octagonal dish (cat.20) offers further confirmation of this point, as does the inclusion in the Lambert service of a tazza, one of the few known to exist in China trade porcelain. (Corbeiller 1974, p.46)
This cup proves, that besides the Lambert armorial service, Sir John Lambert, Bt. must also have ordered an armorial tea / coffee service, no other object from this tea / coffee service seems to be recorded at this time.
For other objects decorated arms, crest and motto of Sir John Lambert, Bt., please see:
- Chinese Armorial Porcelain. (D.S. Howard, Faber & Faber Ltd, London, 1974), p.206, no. D2
- China Trade Porcelain: Patterns of Exchange, (C. le Corbeiller, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York 1974', pp.46-47, cat. 20.
- Important Chinese Export Porcelain and Chinese works of art from the Collection of the late Mildred R. and Rafi Y. Mottahedeh, auction sale catalogue 7520, Sotheby's New York, October 19, 2000, pp.124-125, lot number 279.
- The Bullivant Collection of Armorial Porcelain. Offered by direction of the Executors of the late Cecil H. Bullivant, auction catalogue Phillips London, 22 March 1988, pp.22-23, cat. 82 & 87.
Price: € 599 - $ 670 - £ 523
(the $ and £ prices are approximates and depend on the € price exchange rate)