Here is a wonderful Coalport bough pot or bulb pot, in the French taste, which has been decorated in London with a lively scene of British country life in the early 19th century. It dates to around 1815. The three scenes are surrounded by many borders of decorative enameling and gilding, including the squiggly gilding known as vermicelli that was popular around this time, especially on Worcester porcelain. The scenes are full of life and activity. The wind is blowing, ships of several types are sailing (on ponds that are far too small for them), birds are flying through the air, well-dressed gentlemen and ladies are strolling, engaged in conversation. It seems like a scene right out of Jane Austen. It is a colorful—and mostly imaginative—rendering of an afternoon in the English countryside, where aristocrats would spend a couple of weeks or so at their host’s country estate. London was the site of a number of entrepreneurial studios where white porcelain was decorated in the latest fashion by independent artists. Thomas Baxter was one of the most famous working around this time, but there were many others. I don’t believe this was done in his studio, but there are some resemblances to his son’s style. Coalport and other porcelain factories would sell porcelain in a white, undecorated state, and outside artists added the enameling. Of course, Coalport also had its own in-house artists and carried on a thriving business in that way. The lid is missing on this example, and it would have been a flat piece of porcelain with either holes or cup-like shapes to hold bulbs for forcing. It has been replaced with a white piece of modern plastic of appropriate color. The pot is 11 inches wide and six and a half inches tall. As you can see in the photos, there are some cracks in the back panel. Color has been added to the front of the back panel where these cracks would show, but you can see that with the lid in place these are barely noticeable. The tops of the front corners have been lightly touched up to cover spots of gilt wear, and the back foot on one side has been repainted (part of the vermicelli section), possibly to hide some wear, since there doesn’t seem to be any crack in the vicinity. All in all, a vibrant work of art.
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