Two brown-glazed wine cups, Chinese, late Ming (1522-1644).

The cups, of wide bell form, and measuring 6cm and 5.7cm, are decorated with white slip, depicting almost calligraphic vegetal sprays. One has a lustrous coffee-coloured iron glaze, the rim and foot fitted with silver-gilt mounts; the other has a slightly paler glaze of café au lait tone and only the rim has a silver-gilt mount.
The 1690 Devonshire Schedule, which itemises a huge bequest from Elizabeth, Countess of Devonshire to her daughter Anne, Countess of Exeter records under ‘Lesser China garnisht with silver Guilt’: ‘A pair of small hair colour Cups with white fflowers one darker than the other the ffoot and Rims garnisht’.


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