University Collections of Art and History

Object Record

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Catalog Number 2008.9.119
Object Name Cup, Coffee
Description This cup is from a service thought to have been made for James Parsons, a physician.

Born in Ireland, he studied medicine in Paris before moving to London in 1736. He served as physician to the public hospital of St. Giles and had an active obstetric practice. He was active in scientific and antiquarian circles, being a Fellow of the Royal Society, which is Britain's leading academy of science, and of the Society of Antiquaries. He published widely, and among his thirty-one papers in Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society include ones on the urinary tract, hermaphrodites, and Indian rhinoceroses. An accomplished artist, many of his papers were illustrated with engravings based on his own drawings. Friends described him as "cheerful and decent in conversation."

The attribution of this cup to James Parsons rests on the fact that the arms are copied from a bookplate inscribed "James Parsons M.D. F.R.S [Fellow of the Royal Society]." However, James Parsons married Elizabeth Reynolds, whose arms are unknown but are likely not to be those of the Windygate family. It is possible the attribution is incorrect, but it is also possible that Parsons himself used an incorrect arms for his bookplate and porcelain.
Year Range from 1750.0
Year Range to 1755.0
Material Hard Paste Porcelain
Place of Origin Made in Jingdezhen, Possibly Decorated in Guangzhou (Canton), China
Collection The Reeves Center
Collector David Sanctuary Howard Collection of Armorial Porcelain Coffee Cups
On View Reeves Center, Chinese Armorial Gallery