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Cream boat

Cream boat

  • Place of origin:

    Worcester (made)

  • Date:

    1758-60 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Worcester porcelain factory (producer)

  • Credit Line:

    Bequeathed by Mrs Liane Richards

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

The Worcester Porcelain Company was founded in Warmstry House on the banks of the River Severn in 1751 and today (2016) is believed to be one of the oldest remaining English porcelain brands still in existence. In the 1750s to the 1760s the company produced a vast range of small decorative cream and sauce boats, using a variety of moulded decoration, handle shapes and blue painted designs. This boat is an extremely rare, and seemingly unrecorded, example of one with a circular shape. It is decorated with the ‘Bare Tree Pagoda’ pattern, with two Chinese landscapes depicted in a large circular cartouche on each side. Chinese landscapes with islands, pavilions and boats were a very popular type of decoration for eighteenth-century English pottery and porcelain.

Physical description

Moulded porcelain cream boat, in a circular shape, hand-decorated with the 'Bare Tree Pagoda' pattern in blue.

The moulded body of this low sauce boat is ribbed and decorated with flowering vines, which continue around the C-shaped handle. The underside of the spout depicts a grotesque (Green Man-esque) face. Each side of the boat is dominated by a simply framed large circular cartouche.

The boat is hand-decorated with cobalt oxide. Each of the cartouches make use of the 'Bare Tree Pagoda' pattern, with one side depicting a small building and tree with bare branches alongside some water, upon which a figure in a boat is fishing. The other side depicts two small buildings flanked by two leafy trees. The inside of the rim is decorated with a border, featuring a trellis pattern and a posy of flowers on the inside of the spout.

On the underside of the boat there is a small blue mark of two overlapping curved lines.

Place of Origin

Worcester (made)


1758-60 (made)


Worcester porcelain factory (producer)

Marks and inscriptions

Small blue mark on base of two curved overlapping lines

Object history note

In the 1750s to the 1760s the Worcester company produced a vast range of small decorative cream and sauce boats, featuring a variety of moulded decoration, handle shapes and cobalt decoration. This boat is an extremely rare, seemingly unrecorded, example of a circular shape. Additionally, unlike many other similar Worcester boats of this period, the handle of this one is neither spurred nor scrolled - it is C-shaped, with the moulded vine decoration continuing around it.

Geoffrey A. Godden has noted that:
'These neat and charming little boats are uniquely English. They have no Oriental prototypes, nor do they seem to have produced by the Continental factories. They do, however, owe (like so many porcelain forms) some association to contemporary silver designs or shapes.
Their purpose has been the subject of great debate. They do not appear to have been sold as part of standard tea or coffee services. Therefore they were probably not intended for milk or cream, at least not at tea-time. They seem to have been sold on their own or in pairs, not as part of a set.'
(Godden's Guide to English Blue and White Porcelain, 2004)

Descriptive line

Worcester porcelain, cream boat with 'Bare Tree Pagoda' pattern, English, about 1758-60


Porcelain; Cobalt


Moulded; Firing; Hand painted

Subjects depicted

Pagoda; Vines; Mask; Tree; Floral; Flowers


Ceramics; Porcelain; Eating; Food vessels & Tableware


Ceramics Collection

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