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  • Object:


  • Place of origin:

    Derby (made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1752-55 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Carlini, Agostino (modelled)
    Derby Porcelain factory (maker)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Soft-paste porcelain and glazed

  • Credit Line:

    Given by Lady Charlotte Schreiber

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    British Galleries, Room 52, The George Levy Gallery, case 6

Object Type
This figure group is from a set representing the Five Senses. They may have been intended for display on wall brackets or on a chimney-piece. However, they would have looked best set out on a dining table, which is probably how they were intended to be used. The earliest porcelain figures were made for the dessert course of grand dinners. They gradually replaced sugar paste and wax figures, which had been made since medieval times for royal wedding feasts. Originally intended as expressions of dynastic power and to celebrate political allegiances, by the 16th century allegorical themes had been introduced into these table settings. By the 18th century many were entirely decorative. Meissen in Germany was the first factory to make porcelain figures for the dessert, and Meissen set the sculptural conventions followed by porcelain factories elsewhere.

Materials & Making
All the figures in the group would first have been modelled in wax, possibly by a London sculptor. A set of hollow plaster moulds would have been taken from these wax originals. Several moulds would have been needed for the complete group, since it is complex with much undercutting. A mixture of clay and water would then have been poured into the hollow moulds, and removed and assembled once the clay had dried sufficiently.

Physical description

Group in white glazed soft-paste porcelain of a Chinese man about to chastise a little boy, and the man is wearing a large hat, a long cloak thrown over an ample robe, and has a very long moustache, and the boy is clad in a long robe and pointed cap.

Place of Origin

Derby (made)


ca. 1752-55 (made)


Carlini, Agostino (modelled)
Derby Porcelain factory (maker)

Materials and Techniques

Soft-paste porcelain and glazed


Height: 23.5 cm approx., Width: 14.97 cm approx.

Object history note

Purchased by Lady Charlotte Schreiber from Samuels, Norwich, for £5 in December 1872
Acquired as Bow or Chelsea porcelain.

Descriptive line

Group from 'The Five Senses' in white glazed soft-paste porcelain of 'Touch' represented as a Chinese man about to chastise a little boy, made by Derby Porcelain Factory, Derby, ca. 1752-55

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

Beevers, David (ed.) Chinese Whispers: Chinoiserie in Britain 1650-1930, Brighton: The Royal Pavilion and Museums, 2008
Mallet, J.V.G. 'Agostino Carlini and Dry-Edge Derby' in Walford, Tom and Hilary Young British Ceramic Design, 1600-2002: Papers presented at the colloquium celebrating the 75th anniversary of the English Ceramic Circle, 1927-2002. 2003, p. 46, fig. 6

Labels and date

British Galleries:
This figure is from a set representing The Five Senses, shown wearing Chinese dress. Under French influence, mid-18th century designers introduced an elegant, new Chinoiserie figure type. They simply added Chinese details of dress and hair to figures whose posture and style were otherwise wholly European. [27/03/2003]


Soft paste porcelain



Subjects depicted

Boy; Man


Ceramics; British Galleries; Porcelain


Ceramics Collection

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