University Collections of Art and History

Object Record

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Catalog Number 2008.9.18
Object Name Cup, Coffee
Description This cup was is part of a large dinner and tea service made for John Elwick, a director of the Honourable East India Company from 1713 to 1720. It is the earliest datable use of the grisaille (shades of gray) palette of overglaze enamel.

The grisaille palette was developed sometime during the 1720s. Père d'Entrecolles, a Jesuit missionary who toured Jingdezhen in the 1710s and early 1720s, gives a rare glimpse of the experimentation that led to the development of the new palette. "They [the Chinese] have attempted to paint some China-Vessels black, with the finest China-Ink, but without success, for when the Vessels were baked they were found to be very white; for which reason it was supposed that the black Colour, not being substantial enough, was dissipated by the Action of the Fire, or else they had not sufficient Strength to penetrate the Lay of Varnish [glaze], or produce a Colour different from Varnish alone." As Elwick died in 1730, this service was probably ordered in the late 1720s.

Elwick's brother Nathanial was also part of the East India Company; serving as governor of Fort St. George in Madras, India.
Year Range from 1728.0
Year Range to 1730.0
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