Scent Casket thumbnail 1
Scent Casket thumbnail 2
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Image of Gallery in South Kensington
On display at V&A South Kensington
British Galleries, Room 53a

Scent Casket

ca. 1749-1759 (made)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

Object Type
This casket is for scent or other cosmetics. An expensive luxury product, it would have been owned by a fashionable and wealthy woman, and probably kept on a dressing table. Charles Gouyn, who made the porcelain parts, specialized in the manufacture of small personal accessories. He made these for the home market and for export to the Continent.

People
The casket belongs to the so-called 'Girl-in-a-Swing' group of early English porcelains (named after a figure included in the V&A's collections). Historians of English porcelain first identified these as a distinctive group in the 1920s, but their maker was not firmly identified until 1993. They were originally attributed to the Chelsea factory of Nicholas Sprimont (1716-1771). Collectors then suggested that they were probably made at a rival factory set up by Staffordshire workmen who had quit Sprimont's works. Recent research has proved that these figures and wares were made by Charles Gouyn (died 1785). Gouyn was a second-generation jeweller with premises in St James's, London, and he had been a partner in the Chelsea factory until sometime before March 1749. However, the precise location of his factory, and the identity of the modeller of these distinctive figures, remain unknown.


object details
Category
Object Type
Parts
This object consists of 10 parts.

  • Scent Casket
  • Scent Bottle
  • Stopper
  • Scent Bottle
  • Stopper
  • Scent Bottle
  • Stopper
  • Scent Bottle
  • Stopper
  • Spoon
Materials and Techniques
Glassy soft-paste porcelain casket, painted in enamel colours, with gold and glass fittings; glass scent bottles mounted in gold or gilt-metal, with gold or gilt-metal stoppers; gold or gilt-metal spoon
Dimensions
  • Height: 7.2cm
  • Width: 5.6cm
  • Depth: 3.8cm
Dimensions checked: Registered Description; 01/01/1998 by KN
Gallery Label
British Galleries: SCENT FLASK AND CASKET Charles Gouyn, whose factory made these pieces, was a jeweller. His factory was the first in England to make porcelain scent bottles, bodkin cases and similar items. These were known as 'toys' in the 18th-century. Large numbers of porcelain and metal 'toys' were exported to continental Europe.(27/03/2003)
Object history
Made at the factory of Charles Gouyn (born in Dieppe, France, died in London, 1785) possibly in St James's, London
Summary
Object Type
This casket is for scent or other cosmetics. An expensive luxury product, it would have been owned by a fashionable and wealthy woman, and probably kept on a dressing table. Charles Gouyn, who made the porcelain parts, specialized in the manufacture of small personal accessories. He made these for the home market and for export to the Continent.

People
The casket belongs to the so-called 'Girl-in-a-Swing' group of early English porcelains (named after a figure included in the V&A's collections). Historians of English porcelain first identified these as a distinctive group in the 1920s, but their maker was not firmly identified until 1993. They were originally attributed to the Chelsea factory of Nicholas Sprimont (1716-1771). Collectors then suggested that they were probably made at a rival factory set up by Staffordshire workmen who had quit Sprimont's works. Recent research has proved that these figures and wares were made by Charles Gouyn (died 1785). Gouyn was a second-generation jeweller with premises in St James's, London, and he had been a partner in the Chelsea factory until sometime before March 1749. However, the precise location of his factory, and the identity of the modeller of these distinctive figures, remain unknown.
Bibliographic Reference
Young, Hilary. English Porcelain, 1745-95. London: Victoria and Albert Museum, 1999. 229p., ill. ISBN 1851772820.
Collection
Accession Number
C.341 to I-1983

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record createdDecember 2, 2002
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