Tureen and cover in soft-paste porcelain and painted with enamels, and in the form of a partridge on its nest, Chelsea Porcelain factory, Chelsea, ca, 1755.
Height: 9.5 cm, Width: 14 cm
British Galleries, room 118a
The fashion for tureens in the form of vegetables, animals or game birds originated in France or Germany around 1750. This tureen is based on a partridge, a game bird that had featured on British tables for centuries. [27/03/2003]
These partridge tureens were probably for use in the dessert course of a grand meal, as some were specified as being 'for a dessert' when offered for sale at auction in 1755. They would have been for serving stewed fruit, cream or other sweet foodstuffs. They probably originally stood on leaf-shaped under-dishes, which protected the linen damask tablecloth (as this remained on the table during the dessert at the date that this tureen was made).The components of dessert services did not always match one another in mid-18th century Britain.
Materials & Making
These tureens were made in large quantities. They were painted individually, with the two halves paired up so that the pattern of feathers could continue from one half on to the other. The two halves were usually inscribed with numbers so that they could be correctly paired up after firing. The two halves of this one have different numbers, and the plumage patterns do not match, showing that they were not originally made for one another.
More than a hundred of these nesting partridge tureens were sold at an auction of Chelsea porcelain held in London in 1755.