Ceramics & Glassware

The Trust has over 870 glass or ceramic artefacts on display across our museums and historic properties, and virtually all were imported from England, China or Japan. The pieces mainly date from the 18th and 19th centuries and reflect the changing tastes and fortunes of their owners.

Of note, and on display at Verdmont, is a blue and gold tea service, purportedly to have been a gift for US President James Madison from Napoleon Bonaparte. It was intercepted on a French ship by a local privateer in 1815. Subsequent investigation has shown that this story is highly unlikely and was created to inflate the price at auction.

A favourite at Tucker House is the colourful parrot service. Made in England, it dates from 1840 when the pattern was apparently popular, as the Trust set is a compilation from three separate households.

In the library there is a large and spectacular Chinese punch-bowl c1785, decorated in the famille rose palette of colours with a domestic scene and landscapes. Such pieces are known as ‘export’ or ‘trade’ porcelain, as they were made in China for the western market and were designed to appeal to contemporary European tastes.

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