Very large punch bowl, Qianlong c.1775, with the arms of Elder
Chinese Armorial Porcelain Volume I (1974) records that these arms were borne by an Elder who was Lord Provost of Edinburgh and that the service may have been for him.
This was Thomas Elder of Forneth (1737-1799), an Edinburgh wine merchant and grocer with a shop on the Royal Mile and a house on Princes Street. He served as Chief Magistrate of the City on three occasions and as Lord Provost from 1788 to 1790. In the 1790s he became Colonel in Chief of the Royal Edinburgh Volunteers and Postmaster General for Scotland, becoming responsible for the rebuilding plans of Edinburgh University. In 1765 Thomas Elder married Emilia Husband, daughter of another Edinburgh merchant. This punch bowl, which would have been highly appropriate for a prominent wine merchant in the city, may have been ordered on the occasion of an anniversary.
Mezzotint engraving in 4th image by Richard Earlom in the National Gallery of Scotland, after a portrait by Sir Thomas Raeburn which was painted in 1797 at the request of the principal and professors of the University of Edinburgh and hangs in the university Court Room. Lord Elder sits in his civic robes; at his right hand are plans for laying new buildings at the University of Edinburgh. The foundation stone was laid during his term as Provost.
Reference : Howard, David S.; Chinese Armorial Porcelain, Volume I, p.577
Condition : Rim break and three further rim cracks consolidated. Of these, one rim crack remains visible (and another very faintly visible inside). The consolidated rim break can barely be seen. Enamels all bright.