Rare and Highly Important Chelsea Zoomorphic ‘Billing Doves’ Tureen and Cover


An extremely Rare and Highly Important Chelsea Zoomorphic  ‘Billing Doves’ Tureen and Cover, of the Red Anchor Period, the top cover beautifully naturalistically modelled as two doves placed together and ‘billing’ to one another, their crisply moulded wings naturally appointed, their white plumage flecked in tones of aubergine, brown and grey with their heads beautifully mottled and their beaks and eyes picked out in red, the tureen base formed as their fanned out tails and resting on rockwork which issues wild flowering Dog Rose, its leafy bracts with small clusters of single rose florets in tones of red, yellow and pastel purple.      Provenance: The MacGregor Stewart Collection. Sold Sotheby’s London 13th November 1973. Lot 120.

Illustrated by Dr. F.S.MacKenna, Chelsea Porcelain, The Red Anchor Wares, pl. 35, no 72.

This Chelsea Tureen and Cover ‘as big as Life’ is one of the most endearing and elegant forms of the Zoomorphic Class of shapes and forms. Perhaps encouraged and inspired by the Strasbourg tin glazed examples modelled by Paul Hannong, in the early 1750’s, the tureen form would have been of the highest possible fashion. This Chelsea form evokes an allegorical union of the Doves, which symbolises the ‘Triumph of Love’. The Billing doves, sent from Venus goddess of Love, still remains a powerful symbol of desire, its significance stretching back to times of antiquity.

Red Anchor Mark and numeral 12 to the underside of each piece.

Circa 1754-55

Length: 17 Ins. (43cms.)

Mark:   Crossed swords in underglaze blue.

Stock No. 1409

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