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WORK OF THE WEEK | 28 January 2019

CAG.2393 Unknown, 18th-Century Chinese vase and cover (1 of 2), ceramic, H 61 cm. Cooper Penrose Collection, 2008.

We're delving into our Cooper Penrose Collection with this beautiful Chinese baluster vase.

Did you know: porcelain originated in China over 2,000 years ago? Thought to date to c.1735 and the reign of Yongzheng or Qianlong, this richly decorated porcelain vase is described as famille rose due to its use of pink enamel. It is topped by a domed lid and seated lion finial (ornament). It was once owned by the Penrose family, merchant princes who lived at Woodhill in the Cork suburb of Tivoli, where they assembled an extraordinary collection of art and fine objects.

Their taste for Chinoiserie was likely enhanced by Cork’s maritime trading links. A Quaker family with origins in Cornwall, they had business interests in timber and glass, founding both Cork and Waterford Glass. They also sheltered Lord Edward FitzGerald and Sarah Curran when it may not have been popular to do so. They were eventually ‘read out’ of their Quaker community for owning a painting of a nude Venus by James Barry!

Enter their world and that of Cork’s merchant elite in our eighteenth-century Penrose Rooms (Floor 1).

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