Origin: China, Jingdezhen
Bequest of Miss Martha B. D. Spotswood
Acc. No. 1981-79
Chinese porcelain punch bowl painted with translucent enamels. The exterior decoration shows an exotic bird perched on a branch or vine that extends between chrysanthemums and other flowers. The interior rim is painted with a crosshatched border interrupted by four cartouches containing stylized flower sprigs. The high foot ring is undecorated.
Label:It is possible that this bowl belonged to Alexander Spotswood, but it is more likely that John Maxwell Spotswood and his wife Mary were its first owners. Such vessels are typically known as punch bowls, but period records most commonly refer to them simply as bowls. The first known Chinese export porcelain punch bowl in a Virginia context is listed in a sea captain’s inventory in the 1690s. By the mid-18th century, punch bowls and punch drinking were popular in Virginia. William Byrd’s diaries list almost daily consumption of punch, especially when he was in Williamsburg on business. Punch required fewer accessories than tea to serve appropriately, but, like tea, was usually served as part of a social gathering.
Provenance:Miss Martha B.D. Spotswood, 320 High St. Petersburg, Virginia
Formerly belonged to Governor Alexander Spotswood's grandson, John Spotswood and his wife, Sally Rowzie Spotswood.