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Chamber set
  • Chamber set
    Bullock, George, born 1782 - died 1818
  • Enlarge image

Chamber set

  • Place of origin:

    Burslem (possibly, made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1808-1815 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Bullock, George, born 1782 - died 1818 (designer)
    Wood, Enoch, born 1759 - died 1840 (maker)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Creamware (lead-glazed earthenware), moulded, with applied ornament and painted in enamels

  • Credit Line:

    Purchase funded by the Friends of the V&A

  • Museum number:

    C.44:1, 2-2005

  • Gallery location:

    Ceramics, Room 145, case 50 []

With its bold and heavy Grecian-inspired forms, bands of stiff Egyptian lotus leaves, and hot 'Etruscan' or palette, this very large chamber set is quite exceptional for English ceramic design around 1810. It is, in fact, much closer to Regency silver and furniture design than to mainstream ceramic production at that time, as it was almost certainly designed by the great Regency furniture designer and upholsterer George Bullock (died 1818), and was probably intended to complement furnishings supplied by him. Bullock designed similar chamber sets for the use of Napoleon and his officers in exile on the island of St Helena in 1815. Interestingly, those originally intended for the defeated Emperor's personal use were never sent to the island, as the painted leaf decoration was considered too 'redolent of the victor's laurels'. The set is from Woburn Abbey, the ancestral home of the Dukes of Bedford, and it may have been specially commissioned by one of the Dukes. English ceramics designed by architects or interior designers are exceptionally rare before about 1840.

Place of Origin

Burslem (possibly, made)


ca. 1808-1815 (made)


Bullock, George, born 1782 - died 1818 (designer)
Wood, Enoch, born 1759 - died 1840 (maker)

Materials and Techniques

Creamware (lead-glazed earthenware), moulded, with applied ornament and painted in enamels


Weight: 11.04 kg jug and basin

Object history note

Provenance: Woburn Abbey, Bedfordshire; sold Christie's Bedford Estates and Russell Family, 20 September 2004, lot 374; bought from Jonathan Horne Antiques Ltd (see his catalogue, English Pottery and Related Works of Art, 2005, p.28).

Descriptive line

Chamber set, creamware jug and basin with leaf and scroll decoration in orange-red and dark brown enamel, probably designed by George Bullock and possibly made at Enoch Wood's factory, Burslem, ca. 1808-1815

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Horne, Jonathan. English Pottery and Related Works of Art.Jonathan Horne Antiques, 2005, p.28.
See Ceramics & Glass Section object information file

Production Note

The attribution to Enoch Wood's factory was put forward by Jonathan Horne, who pointed to the existence of similar pieces that came from the Wood family and were sold at Christie's on 12 July 1982 (lot 119-120). However, the sale also included pieces with the same provenance that are most unlikely to have been made by Enoch Wood. The attribution to Bullock is based on 1) the existence of similar wares designed by him for Napoleon's personal use at St Helena, and to similar wares for the officers use in Bullock's St. Helena designs; 2) on the similarity to silver designs by Bullock; and 3) on the chamber set's own provenance, as Woburn Abbey included a large group of furniture by or attributable to Bullock. Jonathan Horne suggested that the set was probably made for John, the 6th Duke of Bedford (d. 1839), and that it was intended for use at Endsleigh House in Devon. However, the man in the portrait medallion is very similar in appearance to Francis, the 7th Duke of Bedford (1788-1861), who married Anna Maria Stanhope (1783-1857) in 1808.

Subjects depicted

Leaves; Scroll-work; Calyx (plant form)


Ceramics; Creamware & Pearlware


Ceramics Collection

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