Chelsea Duck Tureen and Cover

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An extremely rare and highly important Chelsea Zoomorphic Tureen and Cover in the form of a Duck, the circular stand on which it stands adorned with marsh plants, modelled swimming vigorously, the lower part of the tureen formed as the breast and wings, on one side the webbed foot dips into water weed, applied at the front and sides with leaves curling upward, the cover formed as the upper part of the duck, its grinning head with bill slightly to one side, together with a very rare circular stand, expertly and crisply moulded in the form of a basket base over which are draped brightly coloured specimens of marsh plants, including the celery-like King Cups leaves and the species Water Lily together with other marsh plants.

Circa 1755

Length of Duck: 63⁄4 ins (17.2 cms)
Height of Duck: 31⁄4 ins (8.4 cms)
Diameter of the stand: 10 ins (25.5 cms)

Marks:   The tureen with red anchor marks and numeral 26 to both pieces, the stand with red anchor mark to the underside of the base.

Provenance: Private English Collection.

Literature:  There are 51 duck tureens within the 1755 Chelsea sale catalogue, which lasted for 15 days from the 10th March through to the 26th, held by Mr. Ford at his Great Room in the Haymarket. Usually they are lotted in fours with one exception being a three on the penultimate day. They are variously described as ‘Four fine small ducks in different postures’, see Second Day’s sale, Tuesday, March 11th, lot 55. They are now extremely rare survivals. As far as we know this, and only one other at the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge, are currently recorded. This circular stand has been with the duck always, and although these stands are seen with the eel tureens, it is the view of Dr. Paul Riley that, due to the lack of a specifically designed stand for the duck, there is every possibility that this stand doubled for dual use. When looking at the reeds on the lower part of the tureen and the circular stand, they match perfectly.

Item No. 925

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