University Collections of Art and History

Object Record

  • Email This Page
  • Send Feedback
Catalog Number 2008.9.1
Object Name Cup, Coffee
Description This cup is from the earliest armorial coffee service known. It was probably made for Harry Gough (1681-1751), a captain who worked for the Honourable East India Company.

Gough was an East India Company success story. He began his career at the age of eleven, when he traveled to China as the assistant of his uncle, Richard Gough. By 1707 he was captain of his own ship, the Streatham, which he continued to command until 1715. These voyages enabled Gough to, in the words of his son, "acquire a decent competency" which allowed him to retire from the sea. Typically several successful voyages earned a captain or merchant enough money to establish themselves as part of the landed gentry. This is exactly what Gough did, purchasing an estate in Warwickshire in 1717, being elected as a member of Parliament in 1734, and serving as a director of the East India Company from 1730 to 1751.

Armorial porcelain was first made for English families around 1695, and not surprisingly, many of the earliest armorial services were made for people connected to the East India Company. Harry Gough is a prime example of this. This cup comes from the first of four services known to have been commissioned by Gough, the other three dating after his marriage in 1719 and showing his arms impaled with those of his wife, Elizabeth Hynde.

In addition to his Chinese porcelain, Gough is known to have owned silver tea caddies engraved with his and his wife's impaled arms. Enticingly, a painting survives that may actually depict Gough, his wife, and two children using their armorial porcelain. The painting dates to 1741 is by William Verelst, and while it has traditionally been thought to depict his cousin Henry and his family, recent scholarship suggests it may actually depict Harry and Elizabeth Gough and their children Richard and Elizabeth.
Year Range from 1710
Year Range to 1715
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