Give me a print, I will turn it into a bowl

“This punchbowl, which was produced for export to England, is decorated with four scenes of musicians playing their instruments. The larger scenes depict European musicians while the smaller ones on the sides show Chinese musicians in concert. A print by an anonymous British artist served as the source for the painted scene on the bowl’s front. Elaborate gilding and small vignettes of Chinese landscapes enhance the punchbowl’s ambitious decorative scheme. “

MET museum record of 51.86.413

At the present there is a bit of confusion with the dates. The bowl is set to be made around 1760, whereas, according to the inscriptions found on two impressions at the British Museum, the print is dated 1770.

[…] annotated in ink on the recto ‘1. Hellendaal / 2 Nowel Senr. / 4 White / 5 Wynn / 6Nowel Junr / 7 Wood / 1770 / at Cambridge designed by W Orde etched by Mr Hume the player on the Pantelione’.


[…] annotated in ink on the recto ‘at Cambridge / Hellendall / Nowell Sen. / Ranish / West / Wynn / des. by Ord – Etched by Sir Abrm- Hume / Nowill Junr / Wood / 1770’.


Therefore, the dating of the bowl should be definitely postponed.

P.S. The first inscription is quite interesting as one of the players in the concert is also the etcher of the same print, Sir Abraham Hume (1749-1838). The instrument he is performing on is here called Pantelione. It is a “pantaleon”, a sort of dulcimer that was named after its inventor Pantaleon Hebenstreit (1667 -1750).