University Collections of Art and History

Object Record

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Catalog Number 2008.20.1a
Object Name Cup, Coffee
Description This stylish coffee cup and saucer is one of twenty-four "coffee cups with one handle & saucers" from a large service ordered by Katherine Chew of Philadelphia in 1811. She ordered them from her nephew Benjamin Chew Wilcocks, a Philadelphia China Trade merchant.

The order, which was placed on June 25, 1811, included now-lost "patterns" that were probably colored drawings that showed the shapes and types of decoration desired. Katherine's choice of the design was almost certainly inspired by French porcelain with colored grounds and gold neoclassical ornament.

French porcelain would have been the most fashionable tableware for fashion conscious Philadelphians, and Katherine would have had ample opportunity to see (and sketch) examples that belonged to her friends and relatives. She may have actually been inspired by a service made for John A. Brown, a Philadelphia merchant whose French porcelain is surprisingly similar to Katherine Chew's Chinese export. A piece from that service is is on display in the adjoining gallery.
Date 1811
Material Hard-Paste Porcelain
Place of Origin Made in Jingdezhen, decorated in Guangzhou (Canton), China
Collection The Reeves Center
Credit line Gift of Bruce C. Perkins in Honor of James Whitehead
On View Reeves Center, Chinese Export Porcelain Gallery
Gallery ID Number 63