This five-piece Japanese Imari porcelain set comprises three lidded oviform jars and two trumpet vases.

Each vase is decorated with panels of black lacquer with gold flower designs. Japanese porcelain and lacquer played an important role in the decoration of European stately homes and palaces during the 17th and 18th centuries, where they symbolised the wealth and superior taste of their owners. This Imari collection is significant for its close association with Althorp and the Spencer family. It may even be the ‘five China Jars and Covers’ recorded in an Althorp inventory just after the death of Sarah, first Duchess of Marlborough, a wealthy and influential woman and important eighteenth-century art collector. The large spectacular set makes a significant addition to the Ashmolean Museum’s Japanese collection.


?1st Duchess of Marlborough (1660-1744); by descent; Christie’s, 2010.

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