French Regence Silver Mounted Japanese Arita Cup and Cover with Saucer

10156 A French Regence silver mounted Japanese Arita cup and cover with saucer, the cup very finely decorated with children playing in a pavilion, the cover and saucer en suite and painted with flowering trees, the ribbed silver mounts with an indistinct discharge mark?, the lid possibly with a further finial. Handwritten label for Beckford collection and RA Pfungst collection.



Diameter of cup: 3.75 ins (9.5 cms)

Diameter of saucer: 6.5 ins (16.5 cms)                               £4,500


This covered cup and saucer bears a series of labels, one for the RA Pfungst collection and a handwritten label giving provenance to the (William) Beckford collection. While little is known of RA Pfungst, he is recorded as a donor to the British Museum and the Victoria and Albert Museum and most likely to be the son of Henry Joseph Pfungst (1844-1917) a well known collector and donor. The family gifts included many Japanese lacquer works, fine miniatures and drawings given between 1890 and 1943 and it would seem that Henry had ties with both museums as a fellow of the Society of Antiquaries.

William Beckford (1760-1844) has fascinated collectors even during his lifetime. One of the wealthiest men in England through family investments in sugar plantations in the West Indies, he voraciously sought rare works of art in many specialities, among them “oriental wares” Porcelain mounted with bronze and silver in the French taste was being fashionably collected by the Prince Regent and his circle and this cup and saucer would fall into that category. Beckfords vast collection was partially sold in 1823 and a significant portion willed to his daughter and subseqently sold as part of the Hamilton Palace collection in 1882. I have been unable to locate this piece in either auction but there seems no reason to doubt the handwritten label “Chinese Ming Dynasty Beckford Coll, silver mtd”. There was little distinction between Japanese and Chinese porcelain during the 19th century and scholarship really only developed during the early 20th century so this misattribution to China is not uncommon.

French Regence Silver Mounted Japanese Arita Cup and Cover with Saucer