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  • Place of origin:

    London (manufactured)

  • Date:

    ca. 1758 (manufactured)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Welsh, James (decorator)
    Bow Porcelain Factory (manufacturer)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Soft-paste porcelain, painted in enamels

  • Credit Line:

    Purchased with the assistance of the Friends of the V&A, the Hugh Phillips Bequest and The Art Fund

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    Ceramics, Room 139, The Curtain Foundation Gallery, case 1, shelf 6

Physical description

Inkwell of soft-paste porcelain, with glass liner. A low cylinder, with a central circular well surrounded by five holes on the shoulder. The sides decorated with bouquets, scattered flowers and a dragonfly; the shoulder decorated with quills, dividers, rulers, a mathematical manuscript and a geometrical equation.

Place of Origin

London (manufactured)


ca. 1758 (manufactured)


Welsh, James (decorator)
Bow Porcelain Factory (manufacturer)

Materials and Techniques

Soft-paste porcelain, painted in enamels

Marks and inscriptions

'Ja Welsh'
Signed by the decorator inside the footrim


Height: 6.0 cm, Diameter: 9.0 cm

Historical context note

This documentary inkwell is the only signed piece of porcelain by James Welsh, a painter who is known to have been working at the Chelsea factory in October 1750, and at Bow from at least 1754.

Descriptive line

Inkwell, soft-paste porcelain, painted in colours with drawing instruments and mathematical calculations; painted by James Welsh, manufactured by Bow Porcelain Factory, England (London), ca. 1758

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

Christies sale catalogue, London, 9th October 1898, lot 134.
Adams, E. & D. Redstone, Bow Porcelain, London: Faber, 1991, pp. 69-70.
Stevenson, Tony "James Welsh: A Bow Porcelain Painter Revealed" in Apollo, January 1993, pp. 12-17.


Soft paste porcelain


Painted; Glazed

Subjects depicted

Flowers; Dragonflies


Ceramics; Porcelain


Ceramics Collection

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