This very appealing and impressive tankard was made by Worcester, then sold undecorated to the James Giles studio on Cockspur Street in London. They decorated it with an exotic bird standing in a landscape with shrubs, within a shaped gilt cartouche, and with accompanying naturalistic flowers on the sides. It bears a label indicating it was formerly in the collection of Ann and Travis Epes. James Giles operated his porcelain and glass decorating studio until 1774, though his collaboration with Worcester ended in 1771. His exquisite taste and superb sense of design gradually made him a notable rival of the factories from which he was purchasing his supplies of white porcelain, and they eventually forced him out of business—though he also seems to have been much more of an artist than a hard-nosed businessman. He both copied the designs of others and came up with new motifs according to the current fashion. This magnificent tankard is a unique and lovely product of his studio. To quote Gerald Coke’s In Search of James Giles, he “brought the Chelsea type of bird painting to a high pitch of excellence and some of his designs . . . are more satisfactory in their use of colours and in their combination with other features than any produced by Chelsea.” He also states, “The exotic bird designs are perhaps Giles’s finest contribution to porcelain decoration.” Provenance: Christie’s London, September 17, 1979, lot 109. A similar piece is illustrated in Spero’s book, Worcester Porcelain, The Klepser Collection, plate 163. Excellent condition with only slight gilding wear. Four and seven-eighths inches high.
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