George III, Princess Charlotte and the Royal Yacht Charlotte: A important and hitherto unrecorded Coalport vase of substantial size constructed in two sections, the urn shaped body moulded with gilded rams head handles, extravagantly painted overall with a scene of the Royal Yacht and other vessels in rough seas and on the reverse an allegorical depiction resembling a youthful George, a thin blue sash about his chest, and Charlotte depicted as Galatea both riding in a purple conch pulled by two dolphins being led by a winged putto holding aloft a flaming torch, the couple encouraged into an embrace by a putto with clipped wings, a third putto, also with clipped wings, holding a billowing cloak; the lower part profusely gilded with paterae in reverse, raised upon a square base with gilt paterae decoration, the upper section with repeated paterae in gilt upon an aubergine coloured ground, circa 1811, 415mm high overall, maximum diameter 280mm including handles, good original condition save for minor rubbing to the gilt work and two chips to the top rim.
* The magnificence of this massive vase is typical of the very expensively produced commissions undertaken by the London china decorators including Thomas Baxter who operated from about 1797 until 1814 at No. 1 Goldsmith Street, Gough Square, Clerkenwell. The gilt decoration, being of the very best quality and on an aubergine ground is not untypical of Baxter's work. Thomas Baxter junior (1782 - 1821) delighted in allegory and the classical theme saying that 'it was to the Greeks we owed all that is elegant and dignified in art'. Coalport with their ability to produce large, well-crafted pieces was the preferred manufacturer of blanks by the London decorators. With the porcelain alone weighing in excess of five kilos this vase ranks amongst the largest of that period ever to have been seen.
The scene of a Royal Yacht in rough seas is an exact copy of the engraving by Pierre Charles Canot, published in about 1795, after the painting by P. Monamy depicting HMY Carolina and 'the violent storm that drove His Majesty King George I into Rye' in 1726.
Princess Sophia Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz departed her native Germany on 17th August 1761 for Britain to marry George III. Sailing in HMY Royal Charlotte (previously HMY Caroline), together with accompanying vessels, the squadron encountered three horrific storms off the coast of Norway and eventually landed at Harwich on 6th September. Charlotte arrived in London on 8th September and was married to George in the Chapel Royal at 9.00pm that evening.
Coincidentally history repeated itself when in 1797 George III embarked on HMY Royal Charlotte to visit the fleet at the Nore following the Battle of Camperdown . Contrary winds however prevented the ship from reaching the mouth of the Thames and the King was blown back up river to Greenwich .
The allegorical depiction of George with Charlotte as Galatea riding in a conch shell is testament to the mutual adoration the couple, who had fifteen children together, must have had for one another.
Dating from about 1811 this vase was quite probably intended, upon the golden anniversary of their wedding, as a token of celebration for Charlotte's safe arrival in Britain fifty years earlier also George's more recent encounter with bad weather on the Thames.
Until recently discovered it had apparently remained in the same ownership since the 1840's. When found the two sections were attached with a gilt painted thick paper circle and soluble glue there being no evidence of a metal rod, usually used to unite the two sections, ever having been previously fitted. A recently constructed brass bolt with screwed fixing and washers now accompanies the vase.
See: Yale Centre for British Art, Paul Mellon Collection B1995.13.131, record number 3644374 for an example of Canot's engraving printed for Robt. Wilkinson who is recorded as being at 58 Cornhil from 1792 and Bowles & Carver at 69 St Paul's Churchyard from 1793. International Ceramic Fair Handbook 1991, page 35, for an article by John Sandon about the Regency decorators including Thomas Baxter.
Estimate: £6000 - 10000 Click here for details of BP and other fees payable on this lot.