We continue our series highlighting pieces from our exhibition Great Provenances: Exceptional Antiques from Notable Collections with an extremely rare Worcester teacup and saucer from the atelier of James Giles.
The teacup and saucer are superbly painted in green monochrome on a pure white ground, with figures in classical landscapes, a gilt dentil border, a solid gilt handle, and a wide gilt band around the footrim. Both pieces have crossed swords and 9 mark in underglaze blue.
The underside of the saucer and the teacup feature numerous exhibition labels. This piece has been included in the following exhibitions:
Dreweatt Neate, ‘Worcester Porcelain’, Dyson Perrins Exhibition, 1995 (cat. no. 136).
Albert Amor, Worcester Porcelain 1751-2001, 2001 (cat. no. 43).
Robin Robb, Fine 18th Century English Porcelain, 2003 (cat. no. 3).
Stockspring Antiques, James Giles, China and Glass Painter, 2005.
The Parker Family & Saltram
The teacup and saucer were almost certainly made for Montagu Edmund Parker (1737-1831) for Whiteway House, Devon.
The Parker family rose to prominence in the mid-16th century as the bailiff of the manor of North Molton. George Parker (1651-1743) purchased the manor of Saltram, Devon in 1712 from the Carteret family and Whiteway House, Devon in 1722 from the Bennett family. John Parker, 1st Baron Boringdon (1703-1768) married Catherine Poulett, daughter of Queen Anne’s Minister, John Poulett, 1st Earl Poulett, of Hinton House, and made Saltram his principal seat.
His younger brother, Montagu Edmund Parker (1737-1831) lived at Whiteway House, Devon.
There is an extensive tea and coffee service, with exactly the same painted and gilded decoration, in the collections at Saltram House today. This service is understood to have been commissioned from the workshop of James Giles by Montagu Edmund Parker for Whiteway House, Devon. After Whiteway was sold by the family in 1923, it is logical the some of the contents, including this service, would have been transferred to Saltram. The service first appears, coinciding neatly with these events, in a valuation of the contents of Saltram in 1924.
A Worcester ‘standard tea and coffee equipage’ of this date traditionally included twelve teacups and saucers along with six coffee cups. The Saltram service is complete with the exception of four teacups and saucers. The aforementioned 1924 inventory carried out at Saltram contains full details of the green landscape service which then, as now, had four teacups missing. It would appear that these four teacups and saucers left the collection at, or before, this time. The other three teacups and saucers can be found in the collections of the British Museum, the Victoria & Albert Museum and the Worcester Museum.
Saltram House is now owned by the National Trust.