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“THE CONNOISSEUR’S EYE”

Porcelains From the Collection of Carroll Sterling Masterson and Harris Masterson III


By Katricia Lang Photos courtesy of Rienzi, the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston house museum for European decorative arts

There is a beauty and art to entertaining. So illustrate the 18th century ceramics found in “The Connoisseur’s Eye: New Perspectives on Ceramics in the Rienzi Collection,” drawing from the extensive porcelains collected by philanthropists Carroll Sterling Masterson and Harris Masterson III, on view at Rienzi, 1406 Kirby, through January 13, 2019.

Top row, left to right:
A finely painted lugger adorns the bottom of The Judas punch bowl.
Figure of a Wigmaker is one in a menagerie of odd characters meant for the dining room table. Imperial and Royal Porcelain Manufactory produced this small-scale porcelain sculpture, among others, circa 1760.

Deep Dish is a scalloped shaped soft-paste porcelain plate produced by Chelsea Porcelain Works circa 1755. Its naturalistic design copies botanical illustrations published in Philip Miller’s 1752 edition of The Gardeners Dictionary.

Bottom row, left to right:
Fishermen S. & D. Peach commissioned this hand-painted, nautically themed punch bowl, naming it The Judas in honor of their profitable fishing vessel. In addition to lattice and scrolls, fish scales, flowers and insects decorate the bowl’s interior. Produced by Lowestoft Porcelain Factory, circa 1790. 

Sweetmeat or Pickle Stand is emblematic of the Rococo style. The elaborate centerpiece was produced by the Bow Porcelain Factory, circa 1760.

There is more to this 18th century Jardiniere than meets the eye. Using trompe l’oeil technique, the Niderviller Porcelain Factory produced a flower pot holder that looks more like wood than pottery.

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