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

The cups, of wide bell form, 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, an inventory listing a huge bequest from Elizabeth, Countess of Devonshire (1619-1689), to her daughter Anne, Countess of Exeter (1649-1703), 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’. 6cm and 5.7cm.


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