Pair of Punch Bowls, c.1829
Width: 33cm Height: 14cm
Width: 29cm Height: 13cm
Chinese export porcelain was made and decorated in China to European order, as distinct from porcelain in native Chinese taste. By 1820 a flourishing shipping trade, known as the 'China Trade', had developed between Sydney and Chinese ports such as Canton and Shanghai. The bowls have the entwined monogram of John and Martha Hosking on the inside base. John Hosking and Martha Foxlowe were married in 1829 and these punch bowls may well have been commissioned to celebrate their nuptuals or perhaps received as a wedding present. The punch bowls have come from the Hosking family and they have remained in the family since the early 19th century. John Hosking (1806-1882) was the first elected Mayor of Sydney in 1842 and he was a partner in the firm of merchants, Hughes and Hosking.
These bowls have a "sacred carp" design on the inside, with a border in the rose medallion pattern, alternating sections consisting of groups of birds, flowers and butterflies, and groups of Chinese figures in houses. Punch bowls were an English type of bowl, made from the late 17th century, which were wide and deep without moulding around the rim, resting on a plain foot and designed to hold a beverage. The origin of the word 'punch' is thought to be from an English or Indian source and it was a beverage composed of a base of hot milk, tea, or water flavoured with sugar spices and citrus (usually lemon) and a liquor such as arrack, brandy, claret, gin, rum, whiskey or wine. These punch bowls are the first Chinese objects The Australiana Fund has acquired.