A-Mark Coffee Cup C1744

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Class of item

Soft Paste Porcelain

A-Mark Coffee Cup

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Coffee cup of fluted form curving from a pronounced footrim to a slightly everted upper rim and with a relatively large loop handle of simple loop form extended at the lower termination. The sides of the cup enamelled after the famille rose with a bird perched among flowering and leafy branches, all in iron red, browns, purple, aubergine, grey —emerald green, black and yellow; the birds en grisaille within gilt and brown scroll-edged cartouche and with two insects between. Circa 1744. Slip cast with thin walls in a glassy paste with pale-grey white close fitting glaze. Very high translucency. Base glazed. Ht 6 cm (2 3/8 in).

Slip cast; glassy hard-paste body with close-fitting glaze. High translucency; icy olive, green-blue colour. Base glazed. Wiped footrim. H.2.7 in (6 cm). Provenance: The Billie Pain Collection, London, 26 November 2003, #18. The Billie Pain Collection, Sale, Bonhams London, 26 November 2003, Lot 18. The W. W. Winkworth Collection, Christies London, 1991, Lot 86. Illustrated, ECC Transactions, Vol. 18, Pt 2, 2003, p.270.1

The cup is one of a coherent group of less than forty recorded items, some of which are marked with the letter A in blue underglaze or incised. Some examples of the group comprise the so-called 'high style' pieces, linked by their complexity of forms and their highly distinctive decoration of arabesques enclosing figures in landscapes of unusual quality. The remainder, including cups of similar twenty-flute form to the Collection example (#01), are simply decorated wares, presumably surviving items of 'stock pattern' wares.

Recent research, based on chemical analysis and production of analogue wares following the 1744 Heylyn and Frye patent, (the Bow "first patent"),2 and using Cherokee clay from Carolina (uneka) as specified therein, appears to have demonstrated that the A-mark wares are the products of that patent and totally unlike any other known 18th century English porcelain in their paste and glaze chemistry.3 Earlier commentators had tended to dismiss the recipe as "unworkable", and thus examples of a first, different, class of Bow remained unidentified. It would now appear that the A mark wares were the first stage of the on-going development of Bow under Thomas Frye. See too Owen, J. V. and N. G. Panes, Bow and A=marked porcelain: a tangible link from the Stratford (East London) factory site; ECC, London, March 2012.


1 Ramsay, Ross and Gael, and Anton Gabszewicz, 2003, "The Chemistry of 'A'-Marked Porcelain and its relation to the Heylyn and Frye Patent of 1744", ECC Transactions, Vol. 18, Pt 2, 2003. See also Charleston, R. J. and J. V. G. Mallet, "A Problematical Group of Eighteenth-century Porcelain", ECC, Transactions, Vol 8, Part 1, 1971, p.80, and Mallet, J. V. G., "The 'A' Mark Porcelains ftevisted", ECC, Transactions, Vol 15, Part 2, 1994.

2 Patent for 14 years from 06 December 1744: deposition sworn 08 October 1744 with signatures of Edward Heylyn and Thomas Frye; patent application filed London, 06 December 1744, granted 06 December 1744 on the proviso of more detailed specification and duly submitted within date. Reprinted, HMSO,1856: AD 1744, Manufacture of Earthenware, Heylen and Frye's Specification, Patent No. 610, and quoted Ramsay, Hill and Ramsay, 2004.

Additional Information

Item# 4909
Manufacturer Bow Porcelain Factory
Year C1744
Height 2 3/8"
Width No
Diameter No
Shape Number No

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ABN 99 681 857 622