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ca. 1750
Origin: China, Jingdezhen
OD: 4 11/16"
Porcelain, hard-paste
Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Lewis Rumford II
Acc. No. 1972-103
Circular saucer dish decorated in gilt overglaze enamel colors of orange, red, green, blue brown, yellow and grey. The central decoration is the "Valentine pattern" depicting a pair of doves, bow and quiver of arrows, pine tree, flowering shrub, drape garland and a flaming altar. The central decoration is encircled by a stylized scroll and shell border.

Label:Variously known as the "valentine pattern", the "absent master," or the "altar of love", this design is first seen on a 1743 service made for Lord George Anson (1697–1792). Anson was a British admiral who circumnavigated the globe. Piercy Brett, draughtsman of that expedition, probably made the drawing from which the pattern derived. Many variations were painted by Chinese decorators in the workshops at Guangzhou. Several tea wares decorated with the valentine pattern, including at least four saucers and three teacups, were recovered from a cache of ceramics discovered along the Garden Wall near the main house at Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello. The cache dates to about 1770. Given the large number of almost complete vessels, it appears that they were broken in one catastrophic event, such as a crate of ceramics being dropped.
Provenance:Written in ink on reverse: "M-140" and some indecipherable writing. Recorded in Rumford catalogs of 1864 and 1890 as: 1864: "No. 140 Saucer from Jacob G. Morris in 1848 bought in Europe." 1890: "140 Saucer Eggshell, very high colors and Scr various devices. My brother J.G. Morris bought it in Europe in 1854."