University Collections of Art and History

Object Record

  • Email This Page
  • Send Feedback
Catalog Number 2008.9.279
Object Name Cup, Coffee
Description This cup is from a service that was probably made for John Garrett (1746-1809), a Jamaica sugar plantation owner. Garrett was born and raised in Jamaica, where he was heir to large sugar plantations established by his father. About 1770 he married Sarah Reid (1743-1826), the daughter of another sugar planter. In the eighteenth century, Jamaica was one of the world's largest producers of sugar. Cultivated by enslaved Africans on large plantations, it brought fabulous wealth to a small, often interconnected, group of plantation owners and merchants.

In the 1780s, John and Sarah moved to England. The income from their plantations was estimated at an astounding £20,000 a year, and this wealth enabled them to establish themselves as English landed gentry. They bought a townhouse in Portland Place, an elegant district of London, and Freemantle Park, a country estate in Hampshire that was described as "very elegantly ornamented, and particularly a Parlour, whose sides are veneered with choice marble, purchased in Italy by the present proprietor. The Library and Drawing-Room are tastefully ornamented with arebusque paintings: two neat Lodges have been lately erected here with artificial stone."

The Garrets lived luxuriously; according to a family genealogist, a dinner hosted by the Garretts for the Prince Regent (the future George IV) was "of such a sumptuous character that His Royal Highness remarked across the table to the Chancellor of the Exchequer, who was also present, 'Don't you think you might raise the sugar duties a little?"
Year Range from 1768
Year Range to 1772
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 2284