Group of Cock and a Hen

English
1755–60
Made at Bow Manufactory (England)


Object Place: Europe, England

Dimensions

10.5 x 13.7 cm (4 1/8 x 5 3/8 in.)

Accession Number

1983.651

Medium or Technique

Soft-paste porcelain decorated in polychrome enamels

Not On View

Collections

Europe

Classifications

Porcelain

The press-molded figures of a strutting cock and a squatting hen have been assembled on a grassy mound base with applied flowers and leaves. The spirited modeling evident in the turning of the heads and the lifting of the wings is accented by the brilliant coloring. Both birds have yellow beaks and iron-red wattles and combs. Their eyes are black beads within a black circle. The cock has iron-red plumage on its neck and at the base of its tail; the tail itself is largely white, with two red tail feathers and a small number in manganese purple.
Its back and wings and the hen’s breast, back, and wings are dappled in a combination of pale brown and light purple, and the same colors appear on their wing feathers. The tail feathers of the hen are purple, as is the topknot. The claws are striped light brown. The three flowers at the front are colored, left to right, pink, lilac, and blue, and the two smaller ones at the back are lilac and pink; all have six petals and yellow protruding stamens; most are placed against five green leaves. There are three textured patches of green grass. An interesting feature is the technique called sgraffito, used to define the feathers. A heavy coat of enamel is applied, then scratched away with a fine stylus or pin. The same technique, but using a thicker tool, produces the striping of the claws and the texturing on the heads. The softer feathering on the bodies and wings combines a lighter application of color with the sgraffito. The painter (perhaps in haste?) missed scratching one purple feather on the back of the cock’s tail.
The glaze, which is very glassy, is bubbly and slightly crazed where it has pooled on the base. A vent h

Provenance

Major Adrian E. Hopkins, M.C. May 12, 1959. sale, Sotheby & Co., London. Rita and Frits Markus; 1983, gift of Rita and Frits Markus to the MFA.

Credit Line

Gift of Rita and Frits Markus