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A pair of Chinese Qianlong Period coffee cups commissioned by portraitist Sir Joshua Reynolds (1723-92) offered at Tennants.

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The cups and saucers are decorated with a monogram, almost certainly designed by Reynolds himself, which is constructed using all the letters in his name and title.

The same constructed monogram was used on a set of gaming chips or counters. The porcelain service, c.1785, is noted in David Sanctuary Howard’s Chinese Armorial Porcelain (1974), with an illustration of a tea caddy which is held in the collection of Dr Johnson’s House in the City of London. A 9½in plate was sold at Christie’s in 1997.

The coffee cups hail from the private collection of the Aylmer family, who are descended from Sir Joshua Reynolds’ elder sister, Mary Palmer (1716-94). Offered separately, each has an estimate of £200-300.

tennants.co.uk