TEAPOT AND STAND,
with so-called Richard Philcox decoration, Jingdezhen, 1780-1790. Porcelain; height (of teapot) 4 ⅜ (missing lid), width 8 ¾ inches; diameter (of stand) 6 ¼ inches. Gift of Carl L. Crossman in memory of Priscilla Waldo Papin (teapot) and purchase with funds donated by the Buddy Taub Foundation, Dennis A. Roach, Director (stand).
The monogram "RP" is centered within a C-scroll and floral cartouche, at the bottom of which is depicted a cobbler accompanied by the legend "I must Work for LeLtKer's [i.e., Leather's] dear." The brackets on the larger cartouche depict samples of men's and ladies' shoes. The one other published example of this motif is a mug with (in place of the monogram) an inscription that reads, "vivat [long live] / Rich.d Phillcox / Whit / His honest / Fammily," and, on the reverse, "vivat rye [long live Rye]." Conjectures that "rye" refers to the whiskey and that a cobbler's trade label must have served as the Chinese decorator's source are far less interesting than the explanation of the decoration offered by W. Holloway, a local historian in Rye, England, in a story published in the Sussex Archaeological Collections in 1868. He records that Rye cobbler Richard Philcox took care of a gentleman who had escaped a sinking East Indiaman off Rye Bay. The gentleman eventually made it to China and had a service of porcelain made in thanks. The service was inherited by Richard's son Joseph, who sold it by lottery through Holloway, who concluded his account with the words: "All sublunary things are evanescent; and thus the Cobbler's China is scattered abroad, and the name of Philcox is extinct in Rye."