A small Chinese lead-glazed giltmetal-mounted water dropper, late Ming/early Qing, mid 17th Century.

The water dropper is modelled in the form of a lychee, the adherent leaves and stems once forming the handle, unfortunately now missing, 9cm.

The spout is encased in a silver-gilt mount which has upon it the figure of a newt-like amphibian lying on an amorphous ledge.

The base is set with a pierced foliate silver-gilt foot.

It appears in the 1690 Devonshire Schedule, an inventory listing an enormous bequest to Anne, Countess of Exeter (1649-1703), from her mother Elizabeth, Countess of Devonshire (1619-1689).

Under the heading ‘Lesser China garnisht with silver Guilt’ appears: ‘A small yellow teapot with green handle garnisht ffoot and spout with a chaine A ffrogg and a newte.’

The frog may once have sat upon the handle.


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