Ming Meets Morris Meets Macropod – A Peabody Essex Museum Collection piece

The outstanding works by ceramicist Stephen Bowers continue to gain the interest by international collections. Ming Meets Morris Meets Macropod is a recent acquisition by the Peabody Essex Museum, Massachusetts, USA.

Ming Meets Morris Meets Macropod 2018 jigger jolley, white earthenware, underglaze color, clear glaze, on-glaze, ‘distressed’  burnished antique gold, 2.5 x 35.7 cm.

Against a back ground of lobed reserves, a Sulphur-crested Cockatoo ( Cacatua galleria) perches, holding in its beak a length of blue twisted string from which the bird is dangling a decorative bow arrangement The cockatoo references classic natural history (bird) illustration, being derived from, and paying homage to, the work of W T Cooper . The decorative yellow bow is sourced from Meyer’s Hand book of Ornament.

The reserve above the bird’s raised crest is filled with Honeysuckle, a wallpaper design first registered by William Morris in 1883. The bird perches on another reserve depicting a fragment of fabric design (also called Honeysuckle) by William Morris 1874 (sample in the Birmingham Museum). Behind the chest of the cockatoo is a reserve decorated with Eucalyptus corymbosa (Bloodwood) from botanical illustrations in A Research on The Eucalyptus and their Essential Oils by Richard T Baker and Henry G Smith, Technological Museum of New South Wales, Sydney 1920.

Finally, the large lobed circular fragment to the left of the cockatoo comprises a blue and white paneled border with elements in a central circular in-fill. The border and foliage details are based closely on Ming kraakwares held in the collection of the PEM Salem, in particular a porcelain Charger, 1573 – 1619, 3.3 ins (8.4 cms) X 20.7 ins (52.6 cms) dia. Museum purchase 1994. E84059. The paneled sections of the outer border contain motifs typical of the period including auspicious Buddhist regalia and symbols. The central circular reserve incorporates a rendering of the 1773 George Stubb’s Kangaroo – the first clear depiction of this Australian marsupial macropod.

For details about available works by Stephen Bowers, please view our stockroom or contact the Gallery.