"Goat and Bee" jug

about 1745–49
Made at Chelsea Manufactory (England, active 1745-1769), Designed by Nicholas Sprimont (born in Liege, France, active in London) (1716–1771)

Object Place: Europe, England


10.7 x 8.2 cm (4 3/16 x 3 1/4 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique

Soft-paste porcelain decorated in polychrome enamels

On View

Charles C. Cunningham Gallery (Gallery 247)





The small pear-shaped jug is slip-cast; it has slight fluting to the right of each side of its lower section, the lower left side being defined by scrolls. The base of the jug is formed by two recumbent goats, the scrolls following the lines from their heads to their rumps. Both goats are seen facing to the left, that on the obverse with its head toward the spout, while that on the reverse faces the handle. The goats are reclining on an irregular, flat, grassy mound, which is part of the mold, as is the relief spray of a tea plant that curves up under the spout from between the goats to below the lip. The lip has been pulled out to form a spout and has been turned up and cupped in for the upper attachment of the handle. Shaped as an oak branch, the handle loops out, then is joined to the bulbous part of the jug and follows it down to the base, between the goats. The oak leaves, the goats tails, their long horns on the obverse, the bee, here descending, and some of the flowers have been applied by the repairer.
The enamel coloring, though brilliant and consistent with other early painting at Chelsea, is limited. The flowering branch has blossoms and buds in yellow, orange, blue, and puce, and the leaves are shaded with yellow and two tones of green, with delicate black outlining and veining; the stem is light brown. The bee has black legs (one missing) and a black, brown, and yellow body with gray wings. The handle is brown with highlights in yellow and texturing in black; the oak leaves, some with yellow edges, are turquoise green and olive green, with black veining. The grassy mound is also a yellowish olive green, with brown at the lower edge. A small multicolored butterfly is painted just below the rim on the obverse, and a ladybug and another very small insect are on the reverse. The rim is outlined in brown. The goats’ horns, which are short on the reverse, and long on the obverse, are black, and a thin red line marks their mouths; otherwise, the goats are uncolored.


(1) on unglazed base, incised: a triangle


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

Credit Line

Gift of Rita and Frits Markus