Antique Japanese gray porcelain tea cup with crackle glaze. Decorated with delicate floral design in iron-rich dark brown/black glaze. Kyoto Ware.
Age: 18th century
Dimensions: 2 1/2″ high x 2 5/8″ wide
Provenance: From the personal collection of Frederic Cheever Torrey (1864-1935), partner of Vickery, Atkins & Torrey, interior design firm and art gallery founded in San Francisco in 1888.
The gallery, most famous for its role in helping to introduce California to Impressionism, also offered fine works of Asian porcelain and Japanese woodblock prints. The location moved from several places in San Francisco and settled at 236 Post Street (now called Maiden Lane) when the 1906 earthquake hit. Though the resulting fire destroyed the gallery, Henry Atkins and gallery employees were able to rescue 3 wagon loads of art.
In time, the partners opened a sweeping multi-leveled gallery in their permanent location at 550 Sutter Street.
Frederic Torrey was the expert collector behind the gallery’s opulent array of Asian art in addition to oil paintings , prints and photographs. His home on Canyon Rd in Berkeley is now simply called Torrey House and was the location of his personal collection which included, most famously, Marcel Duchamp’s “Nude Descending a Staircase”.