Here is quite a rarity. The monkey heads topping the handles of this piece were rarely used on sauceboats (what we in the US would call gravy boats), and probably derive directly from a Chinese design. In the 1750s this type of sauceboat was one of Worcester’s most expensive pieces, according to a price list that has survived. They were not made after about 1757. Besides the deeply molded rococo designs of scrolls and arabesques, this dish is painted on the inside in blue with an oriental scene and latticework, and on the outside in charming vignettes of oriental life and flower sprigs. It is in good shape, with several rim chips (all shown) that could be restored to make it look like new, or they can be left as is to show its history. It is nine and three-quarters inches across the handles. Another example of this charming form is illustrated in Geoffrey Godden’s “English Blue and White Porcelain of the 18th Century” (2004) in color plate 35 and plates 150-151, and also in plate 30 in the 1963 & 1973 editions. He calls them “amongst the most elegant of Worcester creations.” He refers to monkey heads, but other authors have seen them as dog heads. (Some avoid the discussion by calling them animal heads.) The heads were added not just for decorative effect but also for extra security, as thumb rests (replacing scrolling thumb rests) when the heavy dish holding the gravy was lifted up for pouring. Despite their graceful shape, they fell out of fashion, apparently because the British public wisely preferred smaller single-handle sauceboats to the larger double-handled ones. These large ones were probably difficult to hold steady when pouring. The double handles were meant to make them easier to pour from, but can you imagine how that would work? You’d have to pick it up from the table with both hands, pour with both hands, then set it down with both hands. A ladle would have been a better choice, and one of the early owners must have allowed her guests to use a silver ladle instead of pouring—which explains the chips on the rim next to the handles and adds a little bit of porcelain history.

A warm welcome! Please consider all our offerings, and feel free to inquire about more information. We’re always buying, so let us know if you have early porcelain items to sell.
Ceramics, Decorative, Hand Painted, Porcelain
Royal Worcester
Baroque, Baroque Revival, Neoclassical, Rococo, Rococo Revival
England • English
Creamers, Decorator Plates, Servers, Serving Bowls

Laureate Antiques

Early Worcester Sauceboat in Blue with Monkey Head Handles C.1755.


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    Fine porcelain and ceramics of the 18th and 19th centuries


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    Laureate Antiques

    South Bend , IN This Shop is rated Gold - 100 or more sales Goldsince 2018