Qianlong period circa 1745
Height: 4½ inches; 11cm
A rare armorial mug painted with a polychrome coat of arms and an elaborate monogram in gilt, the rim with a spear border in iron-red and gold.
Arms for the Worshipful Company of Poulterers’: Argent on a chevron between three storks azure, as many swans proper; Crest: On a mural crown sable, a stork with wings expanded gules; Supporters: Two pelicans or with wings addorsed vulning themselves proper, Motto: ‘Remember Your Oath’.
References: Howard 1974, p440 a spoon tray with spear border but no monogram; Howard 2003, p209, plate, 1748, arms in grisaille, border with views of Plymouth Sound and Whampoa; p469, saucer, 1780, with arms & monogram JHB for Master of the Company John Balch (1782); Howard 1997, p132, No 168, a mug with the arms of the Watermans’ Company; p127-9, items with the arms of the Fishmongers’ Company.
This rare mug matches a teaservice, dating to 1745, which sold in the 1920s though illustrated items do not appear to have this monogram. This mug dates from the same time. The monogram is difficult to read but could have been for the Master or a senior officer in the Company at that time.
The Worshipful Company of Poulterers’ is one of 27 livery companies with armorial porcelain, listed in Howard 2003, p813. At least three services were orderd with these arms in 1745, 1748 and 1780.
Although the earliest existing Charter is for 1665, the company dates back at least to 1274 when the price of poultry was set by Royal decree. A livery company was operating by 1299, with the first ordinances issued by the Lord Mayor in 1364. The earliest recorded charter was 1504, which has not survived but from 1560 the company was listed as 34th in the order of precedence. It was granted these arms in 1634 by Sir Richard St George, Clarenceux.
Monograms are notoriously difficult to decypher - and this is no exception. It is probably for a senior officer in the company or for new member who never progressed to office.
B M B ? - Benjamin Boulter was Master of the Company in 1744. Boulter was charged in 1753 with selling a hare for 4 shillings, contrary to the 1707 Game Laws but he was eventually acquitted