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•D2433. Pair of Blue and White Cats

Delft, circa 1750

Marked IP for Jan Pennis, owner of De Porceleyne Schotel (The Porcelain Dish) factory from 1724 till 1764

Each cat with pricked ears, blue staring eyes and a coat naturalistically delineated in blue, and modeled seated on his or her hind legs with the tail curled over the hind front paws, on a blue and white base.

Height: 20.6 cm. (8.1 in.)

Aronson Antiquairs, illustrated in Delftware 1996, ill. 27;
French Private Collection, Paris, 2023 (Provenance+)

Dogs were not the only domesticated animal to enjoy a rise in status during the eighteenth century. Cats were additionally esteemed as companions as well as utilitarian vermin control. Past customs and convictions were reconsidered during the Period of Illumination, including the perspective on cats. Cats were previously associated with pagan cultures and were not mentioned in the Bible, making them suspect. They were useful in controlling the population of rats and mice, however, and were more tolerated for the most part than cared for. During the eighteenth century, the status of the cat shifted and it became a lovable house pet. Family representations as well as single-figure pieces regularly highlightedpet cats, and they were also included in verse and writing.

The collection of the Suntory Museum in Tokyo beholds a similar cat with red collar and yellow spikes. A comparable, slightly larger manganese pair with green eyses and siting on a blue base, marked LPK for De Porceleyne Lampetkan (The Porcelain Ewer), from the former Van der Vorm collection, are depicted in Aronson 2020, p 106, nr 56 and Aronson and Abraham 2010, p. 62. Another comparable polychrome pair is illustrated in The Lavino Collection, 2002, pp. 83 and a single cat is illustrated in Aronson 2003, p. 58, no.55

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