An Isleworth cylindrical large mug, European farming scene and inscribed ICA 1779, chipped and cracked
Lot 86
The celebrated Isleworth farming scene mug, dated 1779
Sold for £19,200 (US$ 32,271) inc. premium
Lot Details
The celebrated Isleworth farming scene mug, dated 1779
The large cylindrical mug with a distinctive grooved strap handle, painted in blue with an extensive farming scene including a woman drawing from a well, another woman feeding pigs and a milkmaid conversing with a labourer, elaborate farm buildings and hay ricks behind, the base inscribed with the initials I * A C and the date 1779, 14.7cm high (cracked, some rim fritting)


  • Provenance: the W D M Parken Collection, Brighton, sold on the premises by Graves, Son and Pilcher, 11 February 1946, bought by Geoffrey Godden. Illustrated by Geoffrey Godden, English Blue and White Porcelain (2004), colour pls. 56-57 and pls. 271-274, also in 18th Century English Porcelain, A Selection from the Godden Reference Collection (1985), pls. 303-5, and an Introduction to English Blue and White Porcelains (1974), pl. 8, fig. 49. Illustrated by H Gilbert Bradley (ed), Ceramics of Derbyshire (1978), p. 303, fig. 463. The scene is probably derived from a number of printed sources. A Liverpool earthenware jug illustrated by Alan Smith, Liverpool Herculaneum Pottery (1970), pl. 68 bears a print with a related farmstead and a woman by a well. Pl. 67 in Smith's book shows another jug with farming scenes and some details are possibly taken from the same source as this earlier Isleworth mug. A creamware jug in the Fitzwilliam Museum, inscribed 'John Bridgen 1780', is painted in enamels also with a related farmyard scene, see Rackham's catalogue of the Glaisher Collection, pl. 73c, no. 1055. Decoration of this kind is very much associated with English earthenware and is rarely seen on porcelain.

    After more than half a century of research and speculation, the attribution to Isleworth was finally confirmed by excavations beside the Thames. Evidence was found that cylindrical mugs were made in many different sizes. The distinctive handle form relates to two later initialled and inscribed mugs and, in particular to a blue and white mug from the Watney Collection, part 1, lot 374. The finds from the Isleworth site were first published by Anton Gabszewicz and Roderick Jellicoe in March 1998 and the present mug features in their catalogue, pp. 10-11, fig 2, with a related handle shard shown in pl. A. The mug was subsequently exhibited by the English Ceramic Circle at Stockspring Antiques in 2003, see Massey, Pearce and Howard, Isleworth Pottery and Porcelain (2003), fig. 82. Most recently it is illustrated in Geoffrey Godden's paper, Isleworth Porcelain in Victorian Collections, ECC Trans, Vol 20, part 1, p. 82, fig. 9.