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Sauce boat

Sauce boat

  • Place of origin:

    Longton (made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1755-56 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Longton Hall porcelain factory (manufacturer)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Soft-paste porcelain painted with purple enamel and moulded

  • Credit Line:

    Bequeathed by Herbert Allen

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    Ceramics, Room 139, The Curtain Foundation Gallery, case E, shelf 2

Object Type
This sauce boat is one from a pair. The other is museum number C.665-1935. Sauce boats became an essential item on the British dinner table around 1720, when French-style sauces became popular. English ceramic factories often copied silver sauce boats. Mid-18th-century sauce boats were open boat-shaped vessels with one or two pouring lips, but later ones were often tureen-shaped with a central foot. Both types could require an underdish to prevent spillage.

The five main sauces introduced by the French were béchamel, brune/espagnol, tomate, mayonnaise and velout‚. Gravies made from roasted meat flavoured with wine and other ingredients were also popular in 18th-century Britain. Other sauces had a 'roux' base, made by combining butter or lard with flour and broth or milk.

Materials & Making
The body of this sauce boat was formed in a two-piece mould. These moulds were made from a master model of the shape supplied by a freelance modeller, in this case probably Aaron Wood (1717-1785). Freelance modellers like Wood first modelled the shape of the vessel in clay and then cast a set of hollow plaster moulds from their originals. They used these moulds to make fired stoneware versions of their designs, and sold these to pottery and porcelain factories.

Physical description

Sauce boat of soft-paste porcelain painted with purple enamel. Moulded externally with leafy scrolls on a ground of various diaper-patterns in relief. Over the relief ornament is painted a swan and rushes on one side, and a view of a house beside a gate on the other. Inside is painted a small view of buildings and sprigs of flowers.

Place of Origin

Longton (made)


ca. 1755-56 (made)


Longton Hall porcelain factory (manufacturer)

Materials and Techniques

Soft-paste porcelain painted with purple enamel and moulded


Height: 9.8 cm, Width: 19.4 cm

Object history note

One of a pair with C.665-1935. Formerly in the Alfred Trapnell Collection.

Descriptive line

Sauce boat of soft-paste porcelain painted with purple enamel and moulded, Longton Hall porcelain factory, Longton, ca. 1755-56

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

For this sauceboat shape, see Nicholas Panes, British Porcelain Sauceboats of the 18th Century (2009), no. 250, where dated ca. 1755-56

Labels and date

British Galleries:
This sauce boat was slip cast in a plaster mould. The potter poured a mixture of clay and water into the mould. He then allowed the water to evaporate, leaving a layer of clay adhering to the mould. The vessel was then removed and fired. Staffordshire potters adopted this technique in about 1745. [27/03/2003]


Soft paste porcelain; Enamel


Painted; Moulded

Subjects depicted

Swan; Houses; Diaper; Flowers


Ceramics; Food vessels & Tableware; Porcelain


Ceramics Collection

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