University Collections of Art and History

Object Record

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Catalog Number 2008.9.383
Object Name Cup, Coffee
Description This cup is from a service made for Hugh Inglis (1744-1820) and his wife Catherine Johnson (1759-1792).

Hugh Inglis was a merchant who made his fortune through the East India Company. Born and educated in Edinburgh, he began his career in New England, where he worked in the counting house of his uncle, James Russell. In 1762 he joined the staff of the Honourable East India Company. He was based in Dacca, the Mogul capital of Bengal (now Dahka, Bangladesh), where he worked as a merchant and as private secretary to John Cartier, Governor of Bengal.

According to the biography written by his son, during his time in India "his wishes had always been moderate, and, though during the latter part of his residence in India, he had possessed opportunities from which large gains might have been derived, he preferred the untainted reputation, the unbroken constitution, and the small fortune with which he left India, to the hazard of character or of health, which larger and quicker gains, or a longer stay in the country, would have involved."

Inglis returned to England in 1775. He joined the board of directors of the East India Company in 1784, and served as chairman of the Company in 1797-1798 and 1800-1801. In 1813 he retired; in the words of his son, "He did not, like some, remain till their friends and dependants all wish them out of the way: but he retired from office in full possession of his mind and health, and when his loss was regretted by all who had business to transact with him."

In 1801 Inglis became a baronet and served as a Member of Parliament for Ashburton from 1802-1806. He was described as "a man of singular excellence, and of uniform consistency of conduct in all the relations of lifeā€¦ Few men enjoyed better opportunities, and none were more industrious, to rescue useful talent from the shade of indigence, and to assist it meritorious progress in the world."

In 1784 Hugh Inglis married Catherine Johnson, the daughter of Henry Johnson and his second wife, Catherine. Catherine seems to have been Henry Johnson's favorite daughter, as he left his estate to her, to the exclusion of his two daughters by his first marriage. Catherine brought the manor of Milton Bryan in Bedfordshire to the marriage. Hugh Inglis died in 1820, and was interred in the parish church of Milton Bryan, which was rebuilt in his memory.
Year Range from 1783
Year Range to 1787
Material Hard Paste Porcelain
Place of Origin Made in Jingdezhen, Decorated in Guangzhou (Canton), China
Collection The Reeves Center
Credit line Gift of H.F. Lenfest and Beverly M. DuBose III
On View Reeves Center, Chinese Armorial Gallery
Gallery ID Number 2386