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Butter boat: C.54-1918

Object information

Current Location: Gallery 26 (Lower Marlay)


Factory: Derby Porcelain Manufactory




Soft-paste porcelain sauceboat, press-moulded and painted underglaze in blue with chinoiserie decoration.

Soft-paste porcelain, press-moulded and painted underglaze in blue. The butter boat stands on a circular foot. Its rounded oval body rises up into a lip at one end, and has a shell-moulded inward curve at the other to which is attached the ear-shaped handle with a small projecting thumbrest at the top. The wavy upper edge of the boat is moulded with feathering and scrolls. One side is painted underglaze with a Chinese building on an island with trees and bushes, and on the other there is an insect, water, and plants. Inside the lip there is a stylized plant and diaper pattern, and down the back of the handl, two scrolls with a vertical tail below. Inside there is a crab (?). The foot is encircled by a scalloped line.

Legal notes

Given by Ralph Griffin, MA, FSA

Measurements and weight

Height: 3 1/2 in
Length: 3 3/4 in

Place(s) associated

  • Derby ⪼ Derbyshire ⪼ England

Acquisition and important dates

Method of acquisition: Given (1918-08-28) by Griffin, Ralph, MA


18th Century, third quarter#
George III
Production date: circa AD 1765


Small sauceboats like this one are often described as butter boats and may have been used for melted butter.

School or Style


Components of the work

Decoration composed of blue

Materials used in production

presumed lead Lead-glaze
Soft-paste porcelain

Techniques used in production

Press-moulding : Soft-paste porcelain, press-moulded and painted underglaze in blue
Glazing (coating)

References and bibliographic entries

Identification numbers

Accession number: C.54-1918
Primary reference Number: 137177
Stable URI

Audit data

Created: Saturday 6 August 2011 Updated: Wednesday 15 July 2020 Last processed: Thursday 3 August 2023

Associated departments & institutions

Owner or interested party: The Fitzwilliam Museum
Associated department: Applied Arts

Citation for print

This record can be cited in the Harvard Bibliographic style using the text below:

The Fitzwilliam Museum (2023) "Butter boat" Web page available at: Accessed: 2023-11-30 12:00:00

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{{cite web|url= |title=Butter boat |author=The Fitzwilliam Museum|accessdate=2023-11-30 12:00:00|publisher=The University of Cambridge}}

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