This is a very rare ironstone vase, in the Chinese style, all hand painted in the coloured dragon pattern, made by the Mason’s factory in the early 19th century.
Both the vase shape and the pattern are very rare.
The vase has a bottle shape with a fairly tall neck, having two dolphin head handles, with attached loops. This vase style is a copy of a much earlier Chinese vase shape produced in the Ming, Hongwu period of 1368 – 1398, which had similar decorative animal head side handles with loops. ( See the book Chinese Ceramics by He Li, page 216, published by Thames & Hudson. )
This vase is beautifully hand decorated in a more complex variant of the Coloured Chinese Dragon pattern, with strong coloured enamels depicting a green dragon on one side and a pink dragon on the other side, with butterflies and flowers, all boldly painted against a gold gilt ground. There are borders to both rims, the lower base rim having a wave border in green enamel.
The vase is marked to the base with a mock Chinese seal mark hand painted in red, sometimes and more commonly seen on Miles Mason porcelain pieces .