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Van Reverhorst - unusual counters with two armorials.




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These counters arrived in a typical 'continental' style of armorial gaming box, smaller than  the Britsh market equivalent and containing just four small interior boxes - the box is unfortunately beyond restoration but none the less interesting. The counters are clearly early with no border and the arms contained in a double circle, and have very fine back-hatching behind the armorial. Even at this time (1730-1750) the Chinese m-o-p workers were capable of very fine work indeed. There were just two shapes of armorial counter in the box - long-oblong and 'square' which either means that there were no other shapes in the original order or that the rounds have been removed.There is a ducal style coronet, in a style often seen on counters made for families of the Netherlands, France and even Spain and Portugal. The quarterly arms are very detailed ( first and fourth two keys in pale; second and third three lozenges, two and one) and also have a shield in pretence ( a cross moline); the crest is a horse's head between two wings; these are the crest and arms of the van Reverhorst family of The Hague and Leiden. The reverse is very unusual in showing another coat of arms (the counter should be rotated horizontally to see the  arms the correct way up, rather than in the more normal vertical plane which is nearly always used on counters made for the UK market) and these are the arms for the Dutch province of Zeeland. This is the first example I have seen of arms being displayed in this way.

In a recently published work by Dr Jochem Kroes (Chinese Armorial Porcelain for the Dutch Market) there is a wealth of information about the van Reverhorst family who had at least three armorial porcelain services made in Canton and who had very close links with the Dutch East India Company (VOC). Kroes suggests that two of the sons (out of eleven children) of the physician Dr. Maurits van Reverhorst (1666-1722) of The Hague were likely to have placed the orders for porcelain (and no doubt counters as well).  Theodorus (1706-1758) travelled to the East Indies as extraordinary councillor of Justice on the East Indiaman the Hogersmilde and he served on the Court of Justice in Batavia from 1735 until 1752. His younger brother Adriaan (1720 -1751) accompanied him on the Hogersmilde; aged 15 he was 'ship's boy' and it would appear that he worked hard to be promoted through the VOC ranks until he was named third supercargo in 1743 and then second supercargo ( with responsibility for porcelain orders) in 1746 and eventually to the high rank of first supercargo in 1748. Kroes dates the porcelain services to around 1743-1745. Adriaan was a member of the Dutch VOC chamber of Zeeland ( the arms to the reverse) so it would appear highly probable that the counters were commissioned in Canton by him.


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