BOW & WORCESTER, 1747-50’s and 1760’s




Bow Dolphin & 3-Shell Pickle Stand

England, c1752-55

5.5" High x 7" Diameter



First Period Worcester 3-Shell Pickle / Sweetmeat Stand

England, c1768

4.75" High x 7.75" Wide


Single & triple-shell dishes are surrounded in a bit of mystery, as is John Toulouse, who is credited with the

casting and assemblage of these fanciful porcelain stands. 

No two have been found to be exactly alike, and no one is quite certain of their exact uses. 

Although they are often called sweetmeat stands, Bow’s clerk John Bowcock, in his memorandum book of 1756, referred to a “dolphin pickle stand” sold on May 20, to the Duchess of Leeds.  We do know that the smallest shells were for salt, while the larger stands go by both “pickle” and by “sweetmeat”

(A sweetmeat is a candy or confection, particularly from fruit, popular in the 18th century).



The base of these whimsical stands (of which purpose we are unsure) was meticulously formed to simulate rock or coral, and incorporated a variety of realistic seashells – the porcelain in many cases being cast from the actual shells.  The rock or coral center was formed by piercing the clay repeatedly with a sharp object. 

Some stands supported a central dolphin or larger upright shells. This imaginative construction is attributed to John Toulouse -  maybe – as he was employed as a modeler at Bow in the early 1750’s, moving to Worcester in the mid  to late 1760’s and supposedly taking these molds with him. This attribution is made by the initials IT and To on many complex figures at Bow during his tenure there -- and then later at Worcester. 

Even that attribution is unsure.



Recently added to our stock is a Bow “Dolphin Pickle Stand” (to borrow the phrase from Mr. Bowcock) c1752-55, and a Worcester “Shell Pickle Stand”, c1768, painted in the “Sweetmeat Stand Rose” pattern.  A similar Bow stand is illustrated with a "waster" (pictured above) in Bow Porcelain, Adams & Redstone, in the Partridge pattern, PL. 53, p. 118.  An almost identical Worcester example was sold in the Zorensky Collection of Worcester Porcelain, Part III, 2006.  Worcester Porcelain, The Zorensky Collection, Spero & Sandon, features several of these stands. 

A stand painted in polychrome enamels is shown on p. 322, where it is noted that stands of this size (7.5”) are quite unusual.



Please see our website listings for detailed images and information.






Also incoming:

Rare First Period Worcester Reticulated & Pierced Centerpiece, England, c1775, 11-5/8" Long

Very rare creamware-influenced reticulated and molded quatrefoil centerpiece on a pedestal foot,

the body and foot geometrically pierced in the Leeds manner, glazed white with gilt edges.

(We offered the blue & white Gillyflower version of this rare centerpiece last year).


Additional British Ceramics :




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18th Century English Triple-Shell Pickle (Sweetmeat) Stands, Bow Dolphin (1752-55) & Worcester with Shells (c1768)