John Schuppe

A Naturalistically Modelled Cow Creamer

John Schuppe

A Naturalistically Modelled Cow Creamer

George III
London, 1766
Maker’s mark of mark of John Schuppe.

Length: 15.2 cm, 6 in.,
Weight: 131 g, 4 oz 4 dwt

Realistically modelled, the body chased with hair, the back with hinged cover with flower border and tsetse fly finial.

Fully hallmarked underneath

The Fenwick family, Brinkburn Priory House, Northumberland, until the 1950s
This whimsical model of a cow is chased to produce a fine textured body. The hinged foliate cover with an amusing Tsetse fly to create the applied finial.

Believed to be an immigrant Dutchman. In 1753 John Schuppe’s mark was entered as largeworker to Little Deans Court, St. Martin's Le Grand. By 1755 he had moved to 6 New Rents. His marks appear almost entirely on cream jugs modelled in the Dutch taste as cows but is occasionally met with other small fancies such as figural taper-sticks.

The amusement and collectability of these cow creamer was for evermore cemented by the wonderful novel, The Code of the Woosters by P. G. Wodehouse, first published on 7 October 1938, in the United Kingdom by Herbert Jenkins, London, and in the United States by Doubleday, Doran, New York. It was serialised in The Saturday Evening Post (US) from 16 July to 3 September 1938 and in the London Daily Mail from 14 September to 6 October 1938.

The plot

Jeeves wants to go with Bertie on a round-the-world cruise, but Bertie is not interested. Bertie's Aunt Dahlia sends Bertie to go to a particular antique shop and sneer at a silver eighteenth-century cow-creamer, to drive down its price for Aunt Dahlia's collector husband Tom Travers. In the shop, Bertie encounters the magistrate Sir Watkyn Bassett, who is also a collector. Sir Watkyn is accompanied by his future nephew-in-law Roderick Spode, the leader of a Fascist organization called the Black Shorts.

Later, Bertie learns that, by playing an underhanded trick on Tom, Sir Watkyn has obtained the creamer. Aunt Dahlia tells Bertie to steal it back. Bertie goes to Totleigh Towers, where he is startled to find that not only is Sir Watkyn there to watch over the cow-creamer but Spode as well.

Bertie has another reason for going to Totleigh Towers: he hopes to heal a rift between Gussie Fink-Nottle and Madeline, Sir Watkyn's daughter. Madeline incorrectly believes Bertie is in love with her, and she has promised to marry him if her engagement to Gussie should ever fail. In fact, Bertie dislikes the drippy, childish Madeline and wishes to avoid marrying her at all costs, but his personal code of chivalry will not allow him to insult her by telling her so. To his relief, he learns upon arriving at Totleigh Towers that Gussie and Madeline have reconciled.
To keep up his confidence for an upcoming speaking engagement, Gussie has been keeping a notebook in which he writes insults about Sir Watkyn and Spode. He loses the notebook and Bertie fears that if it should fall into Sir Watkyn's hands, Sir Watkyn will forbid Madeline to marry Gussie. The notebook is found by Stephanie "Stiffy" Byng, Sir Watkyn's niece, who wants approval from her uncle to marry the local curate, Bertie's friend, Harold "Stinker" Pinker. Sir Watkyn considers Harold insufficiently wealthy and therefore unsuitable. Stiffy uses the notebook to blackmail Bertie into going along with her plan, Bertie must pretend to steal the cow-creamer but allow Harold to heroically catch him in the act. She hopes Harold's "heroism" will motivate Sir Watkyn to gratefully approve his marriage to her.

Thinking Stiffy may be concealing the notebook in her stocking, Gussie tries to search her legs. Madeline sees this, misinterprets it as hanky-panky and breaks off their engagement. Spode, who has strong protective feelings for Madeline, angrily chases after Gussie, vowing to beat him within an inch of his life for his alleged infidelity.

Jeeves learns from the Junior Ganymede club book (a confidential book in which valets and butlers record their employers’ foibles) that Spode has a shameful secret. Because of the club's strict rules, Jeeves cannot reveal anything more to Bertie than one name, "Eulalie". Confident that he can blackmail Spode by pretending to know all about his secret, Bertie rebukes Spode with sarcastic insults, orders him to leave Gussie alone and is about to threaten to reveal the truth about "Eulalie" but at the crucial moment, forgets the name. Enraged by the insults, Spode attacks. A brief scuffle ensues; Bertie tries to flee but suddenly remembers the name and tells Spode he knows about Eulalie. Terrified, Spode backs down and apologizes for his behaviour.

Harold steals the helmet of the local policeman Constable Oates to impress Stiffy. Jeeves suggests a new plan to Stiffy: Bertie will tell Sir Watkyn he is engaged to her. Sir Watkyn, who dislikes Bertie, will then be so relieved to learn she wants to marry the curate that he will allow it. The plan works and Sir Watkyn reluctantly approves of Stiffy marrying Harold. Stiffy gratefully tells Bertie that she hid the notebook inside the cow-creamer.
Disgusted by Gussie's apparent infidelity, Madeline tells Bertie that she will marry him. Bertie needs the notebook to prove to her that Gussie was merely searching Stiffy for it. Bertie obtains the notebook and gives it to Gussie, to show to Madeline. All seems well but Gussie carelessly breaks his newts' tank, and then tries to store them in Sir Watkyn's bath. Sir Watkyn flushes the newts down the bath-drain and angrily forbids the marriage. Speechless with rage, Gussie gives Sir Watkyn the notebook of insults. Bertie realizes that Sir Watkyn will now never relent unless compelled to do so and the only way to compel him seems to be to steal the cow-creamer and hold it as ransom for Sir Watkyn's approval of Gussie as a husband for Madeline.

Aunt Dahlia steals the cow-creamer and Jeeves puts it in a suitcase. Jeeves gives the suitcase to Gussie, who drives with it to London to escape the angered Sir Watkyn. Opening the other suitcase, Jeeves finds Oates's helmet, which Stiffy hid there. Bertie agrees to take the blame for stealing the helmet after Stiffy appeals to one of his personal rules, the Code of the Woosters, "Never let a pal down".

Unable to prove that Bertie stole the cow-creamer, Sir Watkyn gleefully accuses him of stealing the helmet and vows to sentence him to a prison term. Jeeves blackmails Spode with the name Eulalie and forces Spode to announce that he stole the helmet. Jeeves then points out that Bertie can sue Sir Watkyn for wrongful arrest. Trapped, Sir Watkyn concedes approval for Madeline's and Stiffy's marriages.

Unbearably curious about Spode's secret, Bertie agrees to go on the world cruise if Jeeves will tell him the truth about Eulalie. After hesitating, Jeeves reveals that Spode is a talented designer of ladies' underclothing, runs a shop called Eulalie Soeurs and fears that his authority with his followers would be jeopardized if this became known.

Believed to be an immigrant Dutchman. In 1753 his mark was entered as largeworker to Little Deans Court, St. Martin's Le Grand. By 1755 he had moved to 6 New Rents. His marks appear almost entirely on cream jugs modelled in the Dutch taste as cows, but is occasionally met with other small fancies such as figure taper-sticks.

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John Schuppe