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An important Limehouse teapot and cover from Wentworth Woodhouse, circa 1746-48
Provenance: The Godden Reference Collection. Illustrated by Geoffrey Godden, Eighteenth-Century English Porcelain, A Selection from the Godden Reference Collection, pl 29, p 38 where it is discussed at length, English Blue and White Porcelain (2004), dust jacket, colour plate 17, p 78 and pl 90, p 88, New Guide to English Porcelain (2004), pl 119, p 101.
This important teapot was purchased at a sale of ceramics from Wentworth Woodhouse, sold by Christies on 14 October 1948 on behalf of Earl Fitzwilliam's Wentworth Estates Company. The teapot was part of lot 3 which was listed as 'Four Teapots and covers, variously painted in blue with Chinese figures, utensils and trees-probably Lowestoft'. The lot also included a pair of sauceboats and a tankard and sold for 14 guineas. The buyer was David Manheim who sold the teapots on to Geoffrey Godden's father, mindful of his sons interest in Lowestoft. Geoffrey bought three of the teapots from his father for £11. The other two of these were sold in these rooms on 30 June 2010, lots 36 and 37. The fourth teapot retained by Geoffrey's father was subsequently sold and disappeared for forty years. It is now in the George R Gardiner Museum of Ceramic Art in Toronto.
The Wentworth Woodhouse teapots are discussed in Godden's English Blue and White Porcelain (2004) at pp 71-93. On pages 106-111 Geoffrey Godden makes an interesting comparison between the shape of the present lot and the finds of a failed kiln firing from Newcastle-under-Lyme. These interesting links were noted long before the rediscovery of Limehouse.
The 1st Marquis of Rockingham, the Right Honourable William Wentworth had married Anne, the Daughter of the Duke of Argyle in 1741. They naturally visited London during the season and patronised Nicholas Sprimont as a silversmith. The Second Marquis, Charles Watson Wentworth succeeded to the title in 1750 and surviving invoices show the family continued to buy Chelsea, Worcester, Chinese and other porcelain from leading china dealers of the time, see a paper by Alwyn and Angela Cox, ECC Transactions, Vol. 10, part 4, p.200. During a visit to London around 1747, William Wentworth must have been fascinated to see the newly invented Limehouse porcelain on sale and purchased a selection of pieces for the china cabinets at Wentworth Woodhouse. Assuming these were purchased by the Marquis together as a group, they show the principal types of decoration used at the Limehouse factory, European figures, Chinoiseries and direct copies of Chinese emblems.