Chinese Export Armorial Bourdaloue, c. 1750

Chinese Export porcelain armorial bourdaloue, the cover with a spearhead border and gilt finial over the body with a chain border, each piece painted with flower sprays; the handle with a heart shaped thumb-piece.

David S. Howard (Chinese Armorial Porcelain, Vol. I, p.423) illustrates an identical bourdaloue and identifies the arms as those of Flyght. He suggests this could be the family that bought controlling interest in Dr. Wall's Worcester Porcelain Factory in 1783. (The Flight and Barr period lasted from 1783-1840.)

Fair condition: handle restuck; interior crack, as seen in the photo. Spider crack to the bottom does not go through.

China c. 1750
10" long


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Often mistaken for a sauce boat, a bourdaloue is actually a woman's portable urinal. In widespread use throughout Europe from about 1710-1850, the earliest examples were of Dutch delftware. By the middle of the 18th century, they were produced by Meissen, Sevres, Wedgwood and others. The English referred to them as 'coach pots' or 'slippers'. Chinese Export bourdaloues tend to have covers, while European ones do not.

It's unclear when or how the bourdaloue got its name, but one explanation attributes it to Père Louis Bourdaloue (1632-1704), a Jesuit priest at the court of Louis XIV whose long sermons necessitated this discreet and practical device.

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