Quadrille Pool thumbnail 1
Image of Gallery in South Kensington
On display at V&A South Kensington
Europe 1600-1815, Room 1

Quadrille Pool

ca. 1780-1800 (made)
Artist/Maker
Place of origin

This bowl, held together loosely by cords, was almost certainly designed as a 'Quadrille pool' or a container for ivory or mother-of-pearl gaming counters. Quadrille became a fashionable card game in the 1720s and remained popular throughout Europe until the early 19th century. It was particularly favoured by women. Players might have their own boxes of gaming counters, often in sets of four. The four players might stake large numbers of counters during a game and such 'pools' kept them orderly on the card table. The fine painting on this one is still in very good condition, except on the inside of the base, where it will have been damaged by the sharp edges of the counters. The painting includes delicate scenes in Chinoiserie style, including exotic trees and imagined Chinese figures.


Object details

Category
Object type
Materials and techniques
Wood, painted
Brief description
Of wood, with separate base and eight sides, held together by cords; inner and outer surfaces are painted with Chinoiserie decoration, alternate panels painted in white on a blue ground, or reddish-brown on a white ground
Physical description
Of flat sections of wood, an octagonal base, with 8 shaped side pieces, loosely attached to each other with cords; decorated with Chinoiserie motifs, alternate panels painted in white on a blue ground or reddish-brown on a white ground
Dimensions
  • Diameter: 260mm
  • Height: 80mm
The fact that the measurements are exact in metric form may suggest that the pool dates from after 1791, when France abandoned its traditional measurements in favour of the scientifically based metric system or it may be chance, given that the overall diameter and height are somewhat variable, owing to the loose lacing of the bowl.
Marks and inscriptions
X.43 (Marked in ink on base.)
Gallery label
  • Quadrille pool About 1790–1800 Quadrille was played in groups of four people and particularly favoured by women. It became a fashionable card game in the 1720s and remained popular throughout Europe until the early 19th century. This bowl was intended to hold ivory or mother-of-pearl gaming counters during a game of quadrille. It is decorated with delicate chinoiserie motifs. France Painted wood Bequeathed by John Fowler (09/12/2015)
  • W.14-1978 Bowl French; about 1780 Painted with chinoiserie ornament.(pre October 2000)
Credit line
Bequeathed by John Fowler
Subject depicted
Summary
This bowl, held together loosely by cords, was almost certainly designed as a 'Quadrille pool' or a container for ivory or mother-of-pearl gaming counters. Quadrille became a fashionable card game in the 1720s and remained popular throughout Europe until the early 19th century. It was particularly favoured by women. Players might have their own boxes of gaming counters, often in sets of four. The four players might stake large numbers of counters during a game and such 'pools' kept them orderly on the card table. The fine painting on this one is still in very good condition, except on the inside of the base, where it will have been damaged by the sharp edges of the counters. The painting includes delicate scenes in Chinoiserie style, including exotic trees and imagined Chinese figures.
Bibliographic reference
Elizabeth Miller and Hilary Young, eds., The Arts of Living. Europe 1600-1815. V&A Publishing, 2015. ISBN: 978 1 85177 807 2, illustrated p. 171.
Collection
Accession number
W.14-1978

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Record createdApril 2, 2001
Record URL
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