Pearlware tray with 10 pearlware artichoke-shaped custard cups and covers, c.1780 - 1800
These artichoke-shaped pots were acquired from the sale of the Sampson and Horne collection at Bonham’s, London. They are designed to serve custards, but would have appeared on the table alongside savoury dishes such as roasted and boiled meats, rather than as a separate dessert course. Hannah Glasse, in The Art of Cookery, first published in 1746 and re-published throughout the eighteenth century, refers to baking custards in "little china cups", or pouring the boiled custard mixture into cups. Sets of custard cups appear in inventories for London middling households from the 1780s onwards, and this set adds to the museum’s growing collection of eighteenth-century tableware.
A pair of tin-glazed earthenware wall pockets, or ‘flower horns’, made in England, c.1740
This pair of horn-shaped wall pockets was also bought at the Bonham’s Sampson and Horne sale. “Flower horn” is a term that appears in contemporary trade lists and advertisements, and is thought to refer to vessels like these, designed to be hung from a wall in matching pairs to display cut flowers. Pictures of them from the time are at best rare though, so we hope to uncover more information about how these objects were used in the eighteenth century, what flowers were displayed in them and where they were located in people’s homes.
Walnut chair with a spiral twist frame, c.1670-1680
Twist-turned walnut chairs, such as this example are characteristic of English furniture of the second half of the 17th century. This form of twist-turning was first used on English furniture in about 1670 and remained popular until the 1690s. The low, rectangular back suggests a date before about 1680, when the height of chair backs tended to increase, so on stylistic grounds we can date the chair to around 1670-80. It might have been used with a loose cushion, but the lack of fixed upholstery would have meant it was a relatively inexpensive chair, and quite affordable to a middle-income household. It came up for auction in 2010 and is in good, original condition.
Oil painting of a family in an interior, thought to be the Roubel family, artist unknown, 1750s.
This painting is a group portrait of a family in an interior, dating from the 1750s, and gives a strong sense of the people depicted, their time, their values and tastes. What is particularly interesting in this conversation piece is the combination of quite specific furniture and decoration with more generic pieces. The elaborate rococo mirror and console table, (on the far right of the picture), contrast with the plainer mahogany pillar and claw table and baluster chairs. The marble flooring may be a rare depiction of a floor cloth, a common type of floor covering in the homes of the middling sort in the mid-eighteenth century. Despite being common, no actual floor cloths are known to survive from this period, but, amongst the few printed designs, there are imitations of marble flooring.
The sitters are thought to be the Roubel family: Charles-Moyse Roubel (1709-76), a French-born Huguenot who settled in Bath and was a jeweller, his wife, Sarah (1718-91) and three of their children; Paul, their eldest son, (1742-94), the next-born offspring, John (1744-1826) and Catherine (1746-52). The painting may depict the family in the early 1750s; Catherine died aged 6 in 1752 so her position to the side, partly obscured by the swag of fabric, may indicate her death. She is also holding a floral wreath which could signify the fragility of her short life.
The painting was traditionally attributed to the English painter Stephen Slaughter, but we have been unable to establish this for certain and further research is needed.
This painting was purchased with the assistance of the Art Fund and the MLA/V&A Purchase Grant Fund.
Five swatches of ‘Rosetti’ fabric, designed by Peter Hall in 1971 for Heal Fabric Ltd. (c) Heal’s
The swatch card is part of a significant collection of printed textile samples that were kindly donated to the museum by their designer Peter Hall. Peter Hall was a leading textile designer who worked for Heal Fabric Ltd, in the 1960s and 1970s. His design “Verdure”, shown below, was one of the most successful Heal’s ever produced and was in the Heal’s range for ten years, at a time when most designs would have had a life span of between 12 to 18 months.
Section of ‘Verdure’ fabric, in blue, designed in 1965 by Peter Hall for Heal Fabric Ltd. (c) Heal’s
Oil painting of an interior with two ladies, by Arthur Trevor Haddon, signed and dated 1880 or 1886
This painting shows a lady receiving a visitor in a well-appointed drawing room. The theme of visiting was popular in genre paintings of this period. It is clear that the woman seated at the piano is a guest as she is wearing her hat, while the bare-headed hostess sits on the sofa. Tea has been served on a tray, ornamented with a small vase of flowers and placed on an occasional table.
The furnishings, including the table, the potted plants and the Turkish carpet reflect the 'artistic' taste of the period. The carpet is of a type commonly (and possibly misleadingly) referred to as a 'prayer carpet' because of its arch-shaped, directional pattern. The pattern and colours are depicted in such detail that it has been possible to identify it, by comparison with other examples, as originating in rural Turkey.
Pewter beaker with wriggleworked portraits of William III and Mary II, probably Dutch, c.1689-1694
Watercolour, inscribed with the title ‘Staines’, (meaning Staines, Middlesex), showing a maid playing the piano and signed by the artist, Ludovic-Rodo Pissarro, c. 1916
Watercolour showing a woman in an interior seated on an armchair with a loose floral cover, painted by Albert Charles Bown, c.1930