Quatrefoil Tea bowl and saucer

about 1780
Made at Derby Manufactory, working about 1750-1848 (Derbyshire, England)

Object Place: Europe, England


4.6 x 7.5 cm (1 13/16 x 2 15/16 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique

Soft-paste porcelain with a turquoise ground, decorated in polychrome enamels and gold

Not On View





Both the Tea bowl (cup) and the saucer are molded in a four-lobed oval form with circular foot rings (see no. 58). The cup has four quadrilobed panels reserved on a bright turquoise enamel ground. Each panel is painted with one or two oriental figures in polychrome enamels and gold, imitating the chinoiseries introduced at Meissen by Johann Gregorius Höroldt before 1725 (see nos. 17-20). In each panel the figures are shown at work in a garden, flanked by flowering plants and grasses, the ground brown with yellow-green below; in each there are four stylized insects in the sky. The panels are simply framed with slightly chased gold, and the foot ring is completely covered with a burnished gold band. Inside the bowl, below a gold band is a delicate lace-like border of interlocking scrolls and trefoils in the Meissen style. At the bottom of the bowl, inside, is a group of Kakiemon style flowers and leaves in purple, red, yellow, blue, and turquoise. The saucer is decorated on the inside with a quadrilobed panel framed in a rich border of gold, puce (simulating Böttgers Perlmutter luster), purple, and red, with scrolls, strapwork, and feathery foliations. There are three oriental figures, also in a garden between flowering plants and grasses, with vases, flowerpots, and an ornamental wall; at the left a child (or dwarf) holds a parasol over the head of a man who is in conversation with a merchant carrying birds that hang from two sticks. The ground is also brown, shaded to tan, over an area of yellow-green; there are six insects in the sky, their wings touched with light green. The outer border is the same as the inside of the cup. The outside is solid turquoise enamel, with a broad gold band on the foot ring and a slight rim of white at the base. Since the base of the foot ring was wiped clean of glaze before firing, it was not ground down. There are traces of supporting stilts on the foot rings of both the cup and saucer and a small chip on the foot ring of the cup.


(1) on base of teabowl, in pale blue enamel: crossed swords intersected by a V
(2) on base of saucer, in pale blue enamel: crossed swords


By 1956, Rita and Frits Markus; 1982, gift of Rita and Frits Markus to the MFA.

Credit Line

Gift of Rita and Frits Markus