Saltcellar

English
about 1745–49
Made at Chelsea Manufactory (England, active 1745-1769)


Object Place: Europe, England

Dimensions

5.7 x 8 cm (2 1/4 x 3 1/8 in.)

Accession Number

1983.646

Medium or Technique

Soft-paste porcelain decorated in polychrome enamels

On View

Charles C. Cunningham Gallery (Gallery 247)

Collections

Europe

Classifications

Porcelain

The shell-shaped dish was press-molded and then hand-finished at the upper edge so that each piece made from the mold shows a slightly different scalloping of the rim. The base, a wreath of coral detail of interior branches, was also pressed into a mold, then encrusted with moss-like seaweeds and tiny shells by the repairer. Inside the dish a scallop shell is quite heavily painted in yellow, brown, and touches of gray enamels against a bed of green seaweed flecked with black, from which extend three branches of red coral. To the side of this, away from the cupped valve of the shell, is another green over brown patch, thick and opaque, with two red coral branches. The outside of the dish is undecorated. The coral-shaped foot is colored with red and green enamels, the green denoting the seaweed flecked with black, as inside. The small shells are uncolored. A chip on the rim has discolored to a dark brown, and a few other brown spots indicate less visible flaws in the glaze. There are also many black flecks in the glaze both inside and out. On the coral base, three of the ends have been broken off, and there is a long glaze chip underneath; also, several of the small shells have breaks, all resulting from the everyday use for which such pieces were designed.

Provenance

December 1956, purchased in New York by Rita and Frits Markus; 1983, gift of Rita and Frits Markus to the MFA.

Credit Line

Gift of Rita and Frits Markus