University Collections of Art and History

Object Record

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Catalog Number 2008.9.15
Object Name Cup, Coffee
Description This cup is from a service made for captain Robert Bootle and his wife, Anne Tooke (or Tuke). It was made shortly after they married in 1732.

Captain Robert Bootle (1693-58) was employed by the Honourable East India Company, beginning his career as the first mate on the Francis c.1720-21, and rising to captain of the London in 1735 and 1738. He was eventually elected as one of twenty-four directors of the East India Company, serving from 1741-49 and again in 1752, 1753, and 1755. Anne Tooke (1706-68) was the daughter of Edmund Tooke, of Kent.

Bootle grew wealthy during his service in the East India Company. As a captain, he was entitled to participate in the Private Trade, which allowed him to import and sell goods independently of the Company. During his 1735 voyage he brought back £2,880 worth of goods; considerably more than the approximately £120 salary he received for serving as captain. Upon his retirement as a gentleman, he was made a Fellow of the Royal Society, partly because he has "in the course of his travels made many judicious observations relating to natural knowledge." His ascendancy to gentry status was furthered when he inherited Latham Hall, an impressive baroque mansion, from his brother Sir Thomas Bootle, in 1753.

In addition to the coffee service from which this cup comes, Robert Bootle also commissioned a similar armorial porcelain dinner service. These services could have been commissioned by Robert during one of his early trips to China, or ordered through one of his colleagues in the East India Company.

Two other armorial services with the arms of Bootle were made about the same time, probably for Robert's brother, Sir Thomas Bootle. As befitting a family that hailed from Lancashire, which was a center of wool production, the charges on the shield are three wool combs.

Robert Bootle's funeral hatchment (a panel decorated with his coat of arms) survives in the chapel where he is buried in the chapel near his family home of Latham Park in Lancashire.
Year Range from 1728
Year Range to 1732
Material Hard Paste Porcelain
Place of Origin Made in Jingdezhen, China
Collection The Reeves Center
Collector David Sanctuary Howard Collection of Armorial Porcelain Coffee Cups
On View Reeves Center, Chinese Armorial Gallery