Punch Bowl thumbnail 1
Punch Bowl thumbnail 2
Image of Gallery in South Kensington
On display at V&A South Kensington
Ceramics, Room 139, The Curtain Foundation Gallery

Punch Bowl

ca. 1763 (made)
Place of origin

This bowl was made for the 'Swallow', a Liverpool slave ship launched in 1763.

Object details

Object type
Materials and techniques
Soft-paste porcelain, painted in enamels
Brief description
Punch bowl made for the ship 'Swallow', soft-paste porcelain, painted in enamels, made by Richard Chaffers factory, Liverpool, probably decorated by William Jackson, ca. 1763.
Physical description
Punch bowl of soft-paste porcelain, painted in enamels inside with a two-masted ship inscribed below 'The Swallow', on a pink scroll; narrow red diaper border. Outside, a crimson peony and other flowers and a fence in Chinese style in colours.
  • Height: 7.6cm
  • Diameter: 21.3cm
Marks and inscriptions
'The Swallow' (Inscribed inside below a pink scroll)
Credit line
Bequeathed by Mr Wallace Elliot
Object history
Provenance: London, Hyam, 1923.
The bowl is considered by Maurice Hillis to have been produced to commemorate the launch of the ship, c.1763, by Richard Chaffers' Shaw's Brow porcelain works. Earlier writers have suggested the bowl dates from c.1770, after Philip Christian took over Shaw's Brow following Chaffers' death.

The artist William Jackson, a painter of ships active in the later decades of the 18th-century, has been proposed as behind the decoration of this piece. A number of pieces of porcelain and tin-glazed earthenware painted with ships have been tentatively attributed to Jackson, or at least in his style, based on the stylistic similarities to Marine paintings signed by him. Bernard Watney has drawn a comparison to a large Liverpool delftware punchbowl in the V&A (3615-1901) that depicts an unnamed frigate and is dated to 1765-70, as well as the similar sized delftware punchbowl inscribed 'Success to the Africa Trade / George Dickinson' and showing a fleet of ships, at the Potteries Museum and Art Gallery.
Subject depicted
This bowl was made for the 'Swallow', a Liverpool slave ship launched in 1763.

Bibliographic references
  • Watney, B.M., "William Jackson of Liverpool" in ECC Trans., Vol. 15, Part 1, 1993, p. 123
  • Hillis, Maurice. Liverpool Porcelain, 1756-1804. 2011, pl. 5.148
  • Watney, B.M., Liverpool Porcelain of the Eighteenth Century, (Richard Dennis, 1997), 44.
  • Jane Webster, ''Success to the Dobson': commemorative artefacts depicting 18th-century British slave ships', Post-Medieval Archaeology, vol. 49, no. 1, (2015), 72-98.
Accession number

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Record createdJune 24, 2009
Record URL
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