Painting of Nicholas Sprimont, Ann Sprimont and Susannah Protin thumbnail 1
Image of Gallery in South Kensington
On display at V&A South Kensington
British Galleries, Room 53a

Painting of Nicholas Sprimont, Ann Sprimont and Susannah Protin


Oil painting on canvas with historic late-18th Century frame (frame number E.1162-2023)

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read The Chelsea porcelain factory Though only produced for a short time, Chelsea porcelain was coveted by the wealthiest people in 18th-century society, from royalty to elite collectors. The V&A holds a world-leading collection of Chelsea porcelain, revered for its inventiveness and quality, including some unique and outst...

Object details

Object type
TitlePainting of Nicholas Sprimont, Ann Sprimont and Susannah Protin
Materials and techniques
Brief description
Painting of Nicholas and Ann Sprimont with sister-in-law Susannah Protin, English School, c.1759-60. The Sprimont family ran one of the most successful English ceramic factories, Chelsea porcelain factory. Here they are pictured together in front of an archway, possibly the muffle kiln, with a group of finished and unfinished wares from their celebrated Gold Anchor production period.
Physical description
Oil painting on canvas with historic late-18th Century frame (frame number E.1162-2023)
  • Painting height: 76.2cm (Note: 30 x 25 inches (76.2 x 63.5 cm); the outside of the frame 35 1/4 x 30 inches (89.5 x 76.2 cm) )
  • Painting width: 63.5cm
Credit line
Purchased with support from the Rosalinde & Arthur Gilbert Collection, the Bequest of Captain H. B. Murray, the Bequest of Marmaduke Langdale Horn, and the R. H. Stephenson Bequest; the historic frame was purchased with support from Old Possum’s Practical Trust and Jonathan Gray, President of the English Ceramic Circle
Object history
This painting shows Nicholas Sprimont, the great Huguenot craftsman who established and ran the Chelsea porcelain factory, which was one of the earliest and most successful English porcelain factories. Here Sprimont is seen seated with his wife Ann and his sister-in-law Susannah Protin. He holds a scale and is being presented with a fully-finished enamelled and gilt Gold Anchor period Chelsea vase, perhaps alluding to the amount of gold needed to make his spectacular gilded vases. Painted in 1759 by an unknown artist, this painting shows Sprimont in the prime of his career, and about 15 years after the establishment of the Chelsea porcelain factory. By this stage, Chelsea was the most fashionable factory of British porcelain, desired across Europe. The so-called 'Gold Anchor Period' was the most highly-celebrated period of its production. The subject matter of this painting is a testament to the history of British craftsmanship and consumption practices during the mid-eighteenth century. It not only demonstrates the influence of a refugee craftsman and maker on British design, but it is also a statement by Sprimont, emphasizing his importance as an established member of London’s fashionable society. It also points towards the significant role of women within the production and consumption of ceramics during this time.
Literary referenceJohn V.G. Mallet, A painting of Nicholas Sprimont, his family and his Chelsea Vases, Les cahiers de Mariemont Année 1993 24-25 pp. 76-95
Associated object
E.1162-2023 (Frame)
Accession number

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Record createdAugust 13, 2021
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