It comes by descent from the collection of Admiral Robert Coote (1820-98). Enlisting in the Royal Navy in 1833, he was made commander of HMS Volcano from 1845, HMS Victory from 1860, HMS Gibraltar from 1864 and HMS Arethusa from 1867.
He served as commander-in-chief of the China Station between 1878-81. The China Station, established by the Royal Navy in 1865, had bases in Singapore, Hong Kong and Wei Hai, and was responsible for overseeing the coast of China and its navigable rivers.
The base of the 7in (17.5cm) diameter bowl is drilled with three small holes in the shape of a triangle – a curious practice (perhaps an inventory or collectors’ mark) that appears to have been common in Islamic countries. The same pattern is found on 54 Ming porcelains in the Topkapi Museum collection, Istanbul.