Chinese Export Bourdaloue, c. 1790
Chinese Export porcelain bourdaloue and cover, each piece with a gilt and sepia border, the cover with a bud form finial and sepia flower sprays; the body painted with sunbursts and similar sprays; the handle with a heart-shaped thumb-rest.
A bourdaloue is 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 also 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 Pere Louis Bourdaloue (1632-1704), a Jesuit priest at the court of Louis XIV whose long sermons necessitated this discreet and practical device.
There's a bourdaloue in the Winterthur Museum collection that almost certainly came from the same mold. The handle, finial and dimensions are the same. Even the the mold seam is common to both, as seen in the photo. See Arelene M. Palmer, "A Winterthur Guide to Chinese Export Porcelain", (New York: Crown Publishers, Inc., 1976), p. 109.
China c. 1790-1800
9.75" long x 4.5" wide x 6" high
Condition: No chips, cracks or restoration. Gilding to the finial is rubbed.
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