Written by WILLIAM MOTLEY
3-12 November 2016
COHEN & COHEN PO BOX 366 REIGATE RH2 2BB Tel:+44 (0) 1737 242180 Fax: +44 (0) 1737 226236 Email: email@example.com Website: www.cohenandcohen.co.uk
Gallery at: 67 Jermyn Street, St Jamesâ€™s, London, SW1Y 6NY
Â© Cohen & Cohen 2016 Published October 2016 ISBN 0 9537185 6 6
Published by Cohen & Cohen Photographs by Dairy Digital Imaging Printed and bound by Albe De Coker, Antwerp With thanks to: Graeme Bowpitt, Tan Yuanyuan, Hugh Jolly, Tom Maes, Geert Bogaert
The tiger has always played an important part in Chinese culture. A native species, it was feared and revered in equal measure. It is important in Chinese Mythology, the Chinese calendar, Chinese hierarchy and features in many Chinese proverbs. Its current importance in Chinese alternative medicine is now, unfortunately, leading inexorably to its extinction. Despite its ubiquity in so much of Chinese culture it is surprisingly rarely featured as decoration on Chinese porcelain and, as we were able to acquire a number of pieces from a number of different sources, the title of this year’s catalogue was inevitable. The ruby back teabowl and saucer, the blue and white saucer dish and the pair of massive famille rose jardinières are all exceptional in design and in quality and are as fine depictions of the tiger as will be found in any medium. This year’s catalogue also includes a pair of vases and a meat dish depicting the production of porcelain, another subject that is also very rarely discovered in the medium of porcelain. I’ll resist listing the other stand out objects and allow the reader to discover their own favourite, but in the mix will be found extraordinary examples of painted enamel, European subject wares, armorials and items that are outstanding for their decorative value. Once again Will Motley has exceeded expectations in the depth of his research, which includes quite a number of updates on items featured in previous catalogues. Thanks are also due to my wife and partner Ewa without whom the business would not be possible. Michael & Ewa Cohen
1 Figure of Li Tieguai Ming Dynasty, Wanli Period 1573-1620 Dutch or Portuguese Market Height: 13Â˝ inches; 34cm A very rare Chinese biscuit porcelain figure of the immortal Li Tieguai decorated in wucai enamels on the biscuit. Very few examples of such figures from this period are recorded, particularly in this colouring. A few examples are known in blue and white. Li Tieguai is one of the Eight Daoist Immortals and is always shown with an iron crutch and double gourd. Born in the Western Zhou period, he was a handsome young man called Li Yuan who studied Daoism and practised 'out-of-body' travelling. He set off on a visit to Lao Tzu, the founder of Daoism, to learn the secrets of immortality, and instructed his apprentice to guard his body while his spirit was away. Unfortunately, the apprentice thought he had died and had him cremated. When Li returned, he had to take the only available body, that of a starved lame beggar in a nearby ditch. His soul often resides in the double gourd vase, from which he also dispenses medicine to the lame and sick, for whom he is the patron deity. References: Cohen & Cohen (2015), No 1, a blue and white Wanli period figure of Li Tieguai; a blue and white figure of Fuxing, the God of Good Fortune, dated to the Jiajing period, in the collection of the MusĂŠe Guimet, Paris, see Paris 17301930: A Taste for China, Hong Kong, 2008, p.223, no.98; Cohen & Motley (2008), p66, a Kangxi famille verte biscuit porcelain figure of Li Tieguai; for Wanli figural ewers see J.HarrisonHall (2001), Ming Ceramics in the British Museum, London, 2001: Nos 11:17 and 11:18 for a pair shaped as the Immortal He Xiangu, and No 11:19 for another shaped as a female musician.
2 Two Handled Jar Ming Dynasty, Wanli period 1572-1620 Indo-Portuguese Market Height: 3Âž inches; 10cm A rare Chinese porcelain two handled vessel decorated in underglaze blue with circular medallions and cloud decoration on the handles, the base with a Jesuit cross within a double circle. The mark on the base of this pot is extremely rare and inidicates that this was made for one of the Jesuit missions in the Far East. It is a modest utilitarian object, humble but boldly decorated with a Chinese medallion whose four ruyi elements are arranged in a cross. As such it shows an early example of the meeting of East and West in ceramic decoration. It is possible that this may have been used as a ritual vessel in a small missionary church in the far east later blue and white porcelain examples of holy water stoupes are recorded and also a ciborium of flattened chalice form. References: Castro 1988, p37, a blue and white jar with IHS symbol, probably made for the Jesuit college in Goa; Cohen & Cohen 2015, a ciborium.
If the battle for civilization comes down to the wimps versus the barbarians, the barbarians are going to win. Thomas Sowell (b 1930)
3 Vase and Cover Ming Dynasty, Wanli period 1572-1620 Dutch or Portuguese Market Height: 18 inches; 46cm A large Chinese porcelain baluster vase and cover decorated in underglaze blue with panels of Chinese sages and attendants on a floral ground, the cover with double lobed knop. A jar of this size and shape is unusual for this date - especially with the double lobed knop to the cover. The decoration is freely drawn and in a strong cobalt blue.
Sit atop the mountain and watch the tigers fight. Chinese proverb
4 Kendi Kangxi period circa 1700 European Market Height: 12Âž inches; 32cm A rare large Chinese porcelain kendi of globular form with a tall neck and flared rim, decorated in underglaze blue with a scene of Chinese figures. This is well painted with a scene from The Romance of the Western Chamber, a popular literary subject on Chinese porcelain. This example is unusually large. The term kendi is a Malay word derived from the Sanskrit kunda, from an Indian drinking vessel a kundika. The kendi is well known in South East Asian ceramics from ancient times and in China from the Tang Dynasty onwards. It was originally derived from metal forms and, in ceramics, has many varieties from simple shapes to complex animal-form examples. References: Cohen & Cohen 2014B, No 23, a kendi of similar shape but smaller and in famille rose; Williamson 1970, pl XXVII, another kendi; Cohen & Cohen 2000, p7, No 3, an almost identical kendi of the same size and with a very similar scene in blue and white, formerly in the Collection of Baronesse AAM van Heeckeren van Molecaten.
When waking a tiger, use a long stick. Mao Tse-Tung
Garniture Kangxi period circa 1690 Dutch Market Height: 11¾ inches; 30cm A blue and white Chinese export porcelain five piece garniture with painted spiral panels of flowers, consisting of two beaker vases and three baluster vases and covers. The designs here are copying a delft original, which was itself originally inspired by Chinese forms. Some of the flowers have a European style and this illustrates well the repeated design interchange between European and Chinese export ceramics in this period. Five piece garniture sets were very popular in Europe at this date and designs for furniture, fireplaces and room panelling allowed for this with displays of brackets and niches for the display of such sets. Many such arrays followed the designs of Daniel Marot (16611752) a French Huguenot designer and engraver who moved to Holland after the Revocation of the Edict of Nantes (1685) and later to England with William and Mary, introducing the court style of Louis XIV to both countries. One of his designs for a chimney piece included spaces for 300 pieces of porcelain. This fashion was further added to with the publication in 1755 of Jean-Baptiste Pillement’s designs of Chinese Ornament, published after his arrival in London from Lisbon, that combined the ‘high rococo’ with a revived taste for chinoiserie and Chinese porcelain. Later famille rose garnitures were also included in these designs - see several other garnitures later in this catalogue.
detail of engraving by Marot, c 1690-1700
References: Cohen & Cohen 2015, p6, No 2, a similar garniture with the spiral panels moulded.
detail, Chinese ornament, 1755, Jean-Baptiste Pillement
6 Saucer Dish Shunzhi period 1643-1661 Chinese or Korean Market Diameter: 13Âž inches; 35cm A large Chinese porcelain saucer dish painted in underglaze blue with a central scene of a tiger and two birds with a pine tree and lingzhi fungus, the rim border with branches of flowers and fruit, including peony, chrysanthemum, lotus, magnolia and pomegranate. Tigers are rare on Chinese porcelain especially at this date. This was made early in the Qing dynasty, when ceramic production was much less controlled by Imperial power and much production had devolved to workshops that were relatively independent both artistically and in their trading. The painting is free and full of life, with the charming tiger being mobbed by two magpies. In Korean minhwa folk painting tradition, the combination of a tiger, magpies and a pine tree is used frequently and is known as jakhodo. The tiger symbolises the strong protector, the pine tree is longevity and safety and the magpies are the chattering people harassing the powerful ruling class. Examples of the composition are also known on Korean ceramics of this period. Additionally it was a long held tradition that the tiger was a messenger for the mountain deities and that the magpies were messengers of the shrine deities sent to the four corners of the earth to relay their messages to the the tiger.
References: Donald N Clarke 2000, Culture and Customs of Korea, p65; Franci Mullany 2006, Symbolism in Korean Brush Painting; Robert Koehler et al 2015, Traditional Painting: Window on the Korean Mind.
He who rides a tiger is afraid to dismount. Chinese proverb
7 Set of Four Teabowls & Saucers Kangxi period circa 1710 Dutch Market Diameter of saucers 3Â˝ inches; 9cm
A set of four Chinese porcelain teabowls and saucers each with a man and a tiger in a landscape. Tigers are rare on Chinese porcelain, and this design probably refers to Wusong, a character from the Chinese literary work The Water Margin, who slew a tiger with his bare fists.
In 1900 the tiger, Panthera tigris (Linnaeus 1758), had nine subspecies and a total population of about 100,000. Now three of those subspecies are extinct (Bali, Java, Caspian) and the total population in April 2016 was estimated at 3,890. Of the remaining six subspecies, four cling on in China in tiny populations: the South China tiger numbers less than 70 in captivity and is extinct in the wild; the Siberian, less than 400 with 30 in China; the IndoChinese, less than 400 with a few in China; the Indian or Bengal Tiger, less than 2,000 with 30 in China. And yet they are still hunted, at a rate of one per day, for body parts for traditional medicines - a wild tiger corpse in China can be worth as much as $50,000 today.
Estimated Tiger population reduction over 116 years
8 Brushpot Kangxi period circa 1690 Height: 6 inches; 15.3cm Provenance: ex-collection Luis Esteves Fernandes (1897-1988) A rare Chinese famille verte brushpot or bitong of everted ‘mortar’ shape brightly enamelled with a tiger and a dragon. The unusual shape is reminiscent of an eighteenth century brass apothecary’s mortar and this has two small moulded crescents on either side very similar to the small handles found on some of such mortars suggesting that it might be copying a metal example taken to China. The decoration, including a tiger, is also rare. In Daoist symbolism tigers represent yin and the dragon is yang, the two forces combining to control the qi or energy of all things. The tiger represents the West and the dragon the East. The tiger is also a symbol of the military on account of its strength and ferocity and, in Chinese art, the tiger is often shown being hunted. He is the king of beasts and rules for a thousand years, turning white after five hundred. Yang Xiang, one of the twenty-four Paragons of Filial Piety, threw himself in front of a tiger about to pounce on his father. Yang was consumed. In the Kangxi period it was believed that if you were killed by a tiger then your soul was enslaved to the beast unless an unfortunate substitute could be found. Many fanciful stories were written about them: in the Tang period Duan Chengzi (d. 863) described the ability of certain tigers to force a corpse to rise to its feet and undress itself before being consumed. In Chinese art Duan is sometimes depicted leaning against a tiger, half asleep.
A tiger doesn’t lose sleep over the opinion of a sheep. Chinese proverb
An infallible method of conciliating a tiger is to allow oneself to be devoured. Konrad Adenauer
9 Massive Vase Yongzheng period circa 1725 European Market Height: 41 inches; 104cm A massive soldier vase of rouleau form decorated in rouge de fer and gilt with a phoenix standing on a rock. This is richly decorated and fluidly painted. The central theme is the phoenix, the â€˜queen of birdsâ€™, (fenghuang) who represents the Empress. This mythical bird is a composite of several exisitng birds having the comb and wattel of a cockerel, a tail derived from a pheasant, and the doral wing feathers of a mandarin duck. It is not to be confused with the western phoenix that rises from the ashes. The term 'soldier vase' is supposed to have come about after a trade agreement between two Fredericks: Frederick Augustus I (1670-1733), Elector of Saxony and King of Poland (known as Augustus the Strong) and Frederick Wilhelm I of Prussia. Augustus the Strong was a keen collector of Chinese and Japanese porcelain, and went on to found the Meissen porcelain factory. His collection of some 20,000 pieces was originally intended for the Porcelain Palace, which was never built, and after his death in 1733 the collection ended up in the Johanneum, where many of those pieces were engraved on the base before eventually being dispersed. Frederick Wilhelm's great interest was the military having a particular penchant for very tall dragoons. In 1717 Augustus traded 600 soldiers of exceptional height to Frederick in exchange for 151 pieces of porcelain from the Oranienburg and Charlottenburg palaces. His group of porcelains included forty-eight blue and white covered vases of over one metre in height. Later the term became applied to any large vases and often they were paired on either side of doors just like sentries. Frederick meanwhile set up a special regiment of dragoons with his new soldiers.
It is not part of a true culture to tame tigers, any more than it is to make sheep ferocious. Henry David Thoreau
10 Tureen, Cover & Stand Yongzheng period circa 1730 French Market Length of stand: 17 inches; 43cm A rare Chinese export porcelain tureen cover and stand decorated in famille verte enamels with panels of flowers, the form of European shape with the knop modelled as a coiled serpent. This type is a close copy of a shape and design known in Rouen faïence from the Guillibaud factory. In particular this resembles the tureens from an armorial dinner service presented to the duc de Montmorency-Luxembourg by the city of Rouen to celebrate his appointment as Governor of Normandy in 1728. Some pieces of that service are signed ‘guillibaux’ for Jean-Baptiste Guillibaud whose factory operated in Rouen from about 1720-39. Accoring to Fourest 1966, the Roeun potters made the shapes and decorated them in a Chinese famille verte style - and these examples were then taken to China by the East India Company where the Chinese copied them exactly. Chinese examples are well documented and known in blue and white, famille verte and a few with the inclusion of the white enamel introduced as part of the famille rose palette. References: Victoria & Albert Museum, London, a similar Chinese example, No FE.20:1 to 3-1991 also illustrated in Kerr & Mengoni 2011, p33-4; Metropolitan Museum, New York, a Rouen faïence stand, No 17.190.1864; Le Corbeiller 1974, No 23, a Chinese set; Fourest, Henry Pierre, 1966, L'Oeuvre des Faïenciers Français, (Paris: Hachette, 1966), p. 153, a faïence set at the Musée de Rouen, dated to circa 1730; Pinto de Matos 2011, Vol 2, p42, No 207, an identical Chinese tureen; Beurdeley 1962, p173, Cat. 106, a Chinese example from the Vandermeersch collection.
tureen, cover and stand with the arms of de Montmorency, Rouen faïence, Guillibaud factory 1728.
11 Teabowl & Saucer Yongzheng period circa 1730 European Market Diameter of saucer: 5¼ inches; 13cm A rare Chinese eggshell porcelain ruby back teabowl and saucer painted with a tiger and her cub in famille rose enamels, the bowl with a tiger on the interior. This exquisite porcelain is one of the finest examples of this period, a delicate jewel-like object that would have appealed to the most discerning Chinese or Western connoisseurs of the time.
Tyger Tyger, burning bright, In the forests of the night; What immortal hand or eye, Could frame thy fearful symmetry? In what distant deeps or skies. Burnt the fire of thine eyes? On what wings dare he aspire? What the hand, dare seize the fire? And what shoulder, & what art, Could twist the sinews of thy heart? And when thy heart began to beat, What dread hand? & what dread feet? What the hammer? what the chain, In what furnace was thy brain? What the anvil? what dread grasp, Dare its deadly terrors clasp!
Tiger father begets tiger son. Chinese proverb
If you don’t enter the tiger’s den, how can you catch the tiger’s cub? Ban Chao (32-102 AD)
When the stars threw down their spears And water'd heaven with their tears: Did he smile his work to see? Did he who made the Lamb make thee? Tyger Tyger burning bright, In the forests of the night: What immortal hand or eye, Dare frame thy fearful symmetry? William Blake (1757-1827)
12 Ruby Back Saucer Dish Yongzheng period circa 1730 European or Chinese Market Diameter: 8Âź inches; 21cm
A small ruby back eggshell porcelain saucer dish finely painted in famille rose enamels within several elaborate borders including lobed lappets of cell diaper on a blue Y-diaper ground, the reverse with deep ruby enamel. Such items are the jewels of porcelain collecting and are highly prized as cabinet pieces. The Emperor Yongzheng (1722-1736) encouraged the increased sophistication of famille rose decoration and this dish represents the pinnacle of this art: fine and detailed enamelling on egg-shell thin porcelain. The pink enamel that coats the back of this dish was expensive and very difficult to use - it had to be fired at an exact temperature to get the required colour and the mixing of the enamel determined the smoothness of the result. References: Williamson 1970, plate XXXVI, an identical saucer from the W J Holt Collection; an identical saucer from the Samuel Putnam Avery Sr. (1822-1904) Collection, was in The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, accessioned in 1879, deaccessioned 2016.
Won't you come into the garden? I would like my roses to see you. Richard Brinsley Sheridan (1751-1816)
13 Ruby Back Deep Plate Yongzheng period circa 1730 Chinese or European Market Diameter: 9 inches; 23cm An extremely fine Chinese eggshell porcelain ruby back deep plate, decorated with a Chinese scene of a Dragon boat, the rim with detailed and elaborate borders, in black, gold, sepia and pale blue enamel. This unusual dish is an excellent example of the Yongzheng period cabinet pieces that would appeal to the Western or Eastern connoisseur equally. The Dragon Boat Festival (Duanwu) was celebrated on the fifth day of the fifth lunar month, a day supposed to be most poisonous in the calendar. The event commemorates the patriot-poet Qu Yaun (340278), a minister to the Emperor Huai of Chu in the Warring States period (475-221 BC). He had adopted a philosophy of compromise to avoid the conflict that had torn apart China for centuries, but he was schemed against by other officals who pressured the Emperor to have him removed. He then spent some years wandering as a scholar-hermit, writing poetry. Eventually he drowned himself in the Milou River as a protest at the decadence of the Imperial Court and in despair at the prospect of invasion by the Qin. Stories relate that on hearing of his dramatic plunge the local fisherman rushed into their boats, scattering food (zongzi - glutinous rice dumplings wrapped in reed leaves) and beating drums to distract the fish from eating Qu Yuan. The modern events involve races in long boats, with drums and the eating of zongzi.
Swift jade-green dragons, birds with plumage gold, I harnessed to the whirlwind, and behold, Qu Yuan, from Li Sao Since in that kingdom all my virtue spurn, Why should I for the royal city yearn? Wide though the world, no wisdom can be found. I'll seek the stream where once the sage was drowned. Last lines of Li Sao (The Lament) by Qu Yuan both translated by Yang Hsien-yi & Gladys Yang
14 Saucer Dish Yongzheng period circa 1730 Chinese Market Diameter: 6Â˝ inches; 16.5cm A fine Chinese porcelain saucer dish, of flattened form, decorated in famille rose enamels with two Chinese maidens, one seated at a table holding a pen, the other holding a fan, the underside with an underglaze blue double ring to the centre.
Our noblest hopes grow teeth and pursue us like tigers. John Champlin Gardner Jr. (1933-1982)
15 Deep Plate Yongzheng period circa 1730 Chinese or European Market Diameter: 8Âž inches; 22cm A fine Chinese eggshell porcelain deep plate decorated in bright famille rose enamels with a Chinese domestic scene of a lady with two boys, one holding a book, the rim with reserves of peony on a pink cell diaper border.
References: Williamson 1970, plate XXXIII, a similar plate; JĂśrg 1997, p216, Cat 241, a saucer with a similar scene; Cohen & Cohen 2006, p19, No 10, a similar saucer; Du Boulay 1963, p119, a similar saucer
A good book is the purest essence of a human soul. Thomas Carlyle in 1840 supporting the London Library.
Fifty Shades of Pink Famille rose, known in Chinese as fencai, meaning 'soft colours', and later as yangcai, meaning 'foreign colours' was introduced right at the end of the reign of Kangxi around 1720-22. For those new to Chinese porcelain decoration the terms famille rose and famille verte can be very confusing. Essentially it is the mixing of the opaque white and yellow enamels with the new translucent pink and other enamels that defines the famille rose palette and distinguishes it from the famille verte decoration. Famille verte painting uses the thinness of the translucent enamels against the white of the porcelain for effect (like watercolour painting) whereas famille rose uses opaque white enamel for similar effect (more like oil painting). Some writers today no longer use the old terms and refer instead to translucent or opaque enamels. The famille verte enamels use a simple lead-silicate base which had been used in China for hundreds of years. However the famille rose enamels are lead-alkali silicates of the cloisonné type with potassium oxide which renders them opaque and gives them a waxy feel when applied thickly. The translucent over glaze blue enamel introduced in the Kangxi period also uses the lead-alkali silicate base and may have begun the process that led to the development of famille rose enamels.1 The origins of the famille rose palette are still much discussed. There are three new enamels that characterise famille rose: an opaque white enamel and an opaque yellow enamel which seem to have been derived from Chinese cloisonné enamels, the white being leadarsenate, known from Chinese cloisonné in the 17th century, and the yellow containing lead-stannate, used in cloisonné from the 15th century. The translucent pink enamel (using colloidal gold in a lead-oxide-potassia-silica base) evolved separately outside China and probably came from Europe with the Jesuits, derived from German enamelling techniques. The use of pink enamel with gold has a long history having been used in Roman glass, Renaissance metal enamelling and European ceramics in the late 17th century. The pink enamel was derived from colloidal gold in salt form called Purple of Cassius. This took its name from Andreas Cassius a seventeenth century physician and chemist from Hamburg. Williamson (1970) states that it is prepared thus: "Into a clear solution of stannous chloride in water is poured a solution of ferric chloride till the yellow-
brown colour turns to green. Then into it is stirred a solution of trichloride of gold, diluted with 300 to 400 parts water. Presently the result turns brown, and brown precipitate is deposited." It can be worked in other ways but this is the most likely method used by the Chinese at that time. It is a difficult process as it must be done at neutral pH despite the trichloride of gold being made using nitro-hydrochloric acid (aqua regia). The temperature of firing also affects the final colours of the enamel. 650°C Red Brown 800°C Rose 900°C Rose Purple 920°C Rose Violet 950°C Violet 980°C Pale Violet 1000°C Very pale Violet and then the colour disappears altogether (from work done at the Wedgwood factory and quoted in Williamson). It is impressive how quickly the new opaque enamels were exploited by the artists to create such exquisite and sophisticated pieces as the eggshell and ruby back dishes seen in this catalogue. Most date to around 1730 and these enamels had only been successfully developed for less than a decade. References: 1. Needham, J, Wood, N and Kerr, R 2004, Science and Civilisation in China: Volume 5, p634-652, discussion of famille rose enamels and their origins.
16 Set of Six Beakers & Saucers Yongzheng period circa 1730 European Market Diameter of saucer: 5¼ inches; 13cm A set of six beakers and saucers of octagonal form, decorated in famille rose enamels, the side panels with vases of flowers and the canted corners with chrysanthemums on a black ground with green foliage. The black ground is made from a black overglaze enamel that is further overlaid with a translucent green enamel. This is sometimes called ‘famille noire’ though properly that term should refer only to a black enamel painted directly onto the biscuit and is relatively rare. References: a single example from the Samuel Putnam Avery Sr. (1822-1904) Collection, was in The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, accessioned in 1879, deaccessioned 2016.
When a man wants to murder a tiger he calls it sport; when a tiger wants to murder him he calls it ferocity. George Bernard Shaw
17 Punchbowl Qianlong period circa 1740 European or Chinese Market Diameter: 15Â˝ inches; 39cm A fine Chinese porcelain punchbowl painted in famille rose enamels with a continuous scene of Chinese hunters. This is unusual in having no decorative border at the rim, with the hunting scene elegantly arranged around the bowl in a dynamic and lively manner. This style would have appealed to Chinese taste as much as to the Western market at the time. References: an identical bowl is at Osterley Park, West London, (National Trust).
18 Massive Charger
A Liu Haichan, a Daoist xian (also equated with the God of Wealth, Caishen). He is often depicted with the three legged ‘money toad’, Jin Chan, shown here on his shoulder emitting a vapour from its mouth. B Zhang Guolao - with bamboo tube C Cao Guojiu - with castanets D Lan Caihe - with basket of fruit E Han Xiangxi - with a flute F Li Tieguai - with double gourd and crutch G Magu holding a lingzhi fungus, on her boat with two attendants H Xi Wangmu, wife of the Jade Emeperor, riding a phoenix (fenghuang) with an attendant holding a fan I Zhongli Quan - leader, with belly exposed J the Star God, Shoulao - with exaggerated forehead K He Xiangu - she has a lotus flower L Lü Dongbin - (no sword)
Yongzheng period circa 1735 European Market Diameter: 21¼ inches; 54.5cm A massive Chinese porcelain charger brightly painted in famille rose enamels with an elaborate central scene of Chinese deities attending a banquet, the rim with reserves of precious objects on a yellow cell diaper ground. This scene shows the peach banquet in the Kunlun mountains at which the eight immortals replenish their immortality by eating peaches grown by Xi Wangmu, the Queen Mother of the West and consort of the Jade Emperor. Most of the people in this scene can be identified.
G J I
19 Rouleau Vase Yongzheng period circa 1735 European or Chinese Market Height: 17 inches; 43cm A fine Chinese porcelain rouleau vase with applique decoration of precious obeects and other symbols, painted in bright famille rose enamels.
References: Bahr, Aw. (1911) Old Chinese Porcelain & Works of Art in China, pl. LXXXIII, a similar vase, Yongzheng period; Lam, Peter Y.K. , Ethereal Elegance: Porcelain Vases of the Imperial Qing, The Huaihaitang Collection, No. 120, pp340-341, a larger vase with relief decoration; Porcelain in Polychrome and Contrasting Colours: The Complete Collection of Treasures of the Palace Museum, Vol. 38, Hong Kong, 1999, no. 143, p. 156; a Kangxi vase with similar decoration but in gilt that is in the collection of the National Palace Museum, Beijing.
Was on a lofty vaseâ€™s side, Where Chinaâ€™s gayest art had dyed The azure flowers, that blow; Demurest of the tabby kind, The pensive Selima reclined, Gazed on the lake below.
a vase formerly in the AW Bahr Collection
Thomas Gray (1716-1771) from Ode on the Death of a Favourite Cat Drowned in a Tub of Goldfishes
20 Pair of Massive Fishtanks Qianlong period circa 1750 European Market Height: 23 inches; 58cm A pair of massive Chinese porcelain jardinières or fishtanks of octagonal form with four large side panels and four ‘corner’ panels, all decorated in bright famille rose with scenes from Chinese literary and historical sources. These are previously unrecorded. The designs are known on other vases and large dishes from the eighteenth century. There are six different scenes included here on the eight panels - two are repeated on both vessels (one from The Romance of the Western Chamber and a group of maidens on horseback) but the other four
include Wusong killing a tiger, from The Water Margin; another scene from Romance of the Western Chamber; the Lotus Inspection Ceremony, and an unidentified scene. The six different scenes appear to be in three pairs: the lotus inspection and the ladies’ riding display are both thought to be spectacles for the Sui Emperor Yang Di; two are from the Romance of the Western Chamber and probably the other two are from the same story of Wusong in the Water Margin. References: Sargent 2014, p293, N0 122, a jar with the scene of maidens on horseback.
Two scenes from The Romance of the Western Chamber
The Emperor Yang Di of the Sui Dynasty (569-618) who indulged his tastes for spectacle with his many concubines in the West Park in Luoyang. His consorts often organised court ladies to perform on horseback, imitating the procession of Lady Wang Zhaojun.
Wusong killing the tiger, from The Water Margin
Lotus Inspection Ceremony; this was popular in the Reign of the Qing Emperor Kangxi but it is thought the tradition may have started with Emperor Yang of the Sui.
unidentifed, but this could show Wusong fighting Jiang Zhong in another scene from The Water Margin.
21 Pair of Vases & Covers Yongzheng period circa 1730 European Market Height: 18Â˝ inches; 47cm A very fine pair of Chinese porcelain vases and covers of ovoid form decorated in famille rose with a golden pheasant on a blue rock surrounded by tree peonies, the knops to the covers painted as lotus buds.
22 Pair of Large JardiniĂ¨res Yongzheng/Qianlong period circa 1735-40 European Market Diameter: 15 inches; 38cm Height: 9 inches; 23cm A pair of large Chinese export porcelain famille rose jardiniĂ¨res, of hexagonal form, each side with moulded cartouches of flowers and bowls of fruit reserved on a blue ground with chrysanthemums, on a short pierced foot. References: Cohen & Cohen 2015, p9, No 9, a verte imari single example of similar form and size.
23 Pair of Teapots & Covers Yongzheng/Qianlong period circa 1735 European Market Height: 5¼ inches; 13cm Length: 7 inches; 18cm A fine pair of Chinese porcelain teapots and covers, brightly enamelled in famille rose with a crowing rooster on a blue rock, surrounded by tree peonies. These are very nice examples of this type. The crowing rooster (gongji ming) is a pun for ‘literary success’ or ‘scholarly honour’ and a rooster on a rock (shishang daji) means ‘may there be good fortune inside the home; the peony adds further honour to the symbolism.
I mean, the question actors most often get asked is how they can bear saying the same things over and over again, night after night, but God knows the answer to that is, don't we all anyway; might as well get paid for it. Richard Brinsley Sheridan (1751-1816)
24 Garniture Qianlong period circa 1740 European Market Height: 8Âž inches; 22cm A Chinese export porcelain famille rose garniture of three baluster vase and covers and two trumpet vases, brightly enamelled with a crowing rooster on a blue rock surrounded by tree peony. The symbolism of the crowing rooster on a rock with peony is all connected to success with official examinations and career prospects, though this would not have been understood by the eighteenth century Western connoisseur.
As we journey through life, discarding baggage along the way, we should keep an iron grip, to the very end, on the capacity for silliness. It preserves the soul from dessication. Humphrey Lyttelton, in It Just Occurred to Me (2006)
25 Garniture Kangxi period circa 1720 European Market Height: 13Âź inches; 34cm A rare Chinese porcelain five piece garniture of hexagonal section vases, three of baluster form with covers and two beaker vases, all decorated in underglaze blue and pale lavender wash, with peony and bamboo, highlighted in gold. The rare lavender ground is stylish and striking and an example of the adventurous and creative experimental decoration that is characteristic of this late Kangxi period.
A bumper of good liquor will end a contest quicker than justice, judge, or vicar. Richard Brinsley Sheridan (1751-1816)
26 Garniture Qianlong period circa 1760 European Market Height: 16 inches; 41cm A fine Chinese porcelain five piece garniture of flattened quatrefoil section, decorated in bright famille rose enamels with peonies and blue rocks. This elegant garniture demonstrates the sophisticated use of complimentary shapes in such sets of vases, creating a pleasing visual harmony when displayed as a group on a mantelpiece or on a collection of high rococo brackets perhaps surrounding an elaborate mirror. These exemplify the mid-eighteenth century taste for Chinese ornament, developed in particular by JeanBaptiste Pillement in his book on Chinese ornament in 1755. If the battle for civilization comes down to the wimps versus the barbarians, the barbarians are going to win. Thomas Sowell (b 1930)
An oppressive government is more to be feared than a tiger. Confucius
Pair of Salts Qianlong period circa 1760-65 European Market Length: 4 inches; 10cm A rare pair of Chinese export porcelain shell-form footed salts, decorated with flowers in famille rose and bianca-sopra-bianca. This delicate form is a direct copy of one originating at Meissen and repeated there in many versions from about 1735 onwards. The floral decoration is also copying the meissen style. It is rare in export porcelain, with notable examples being recorded in the large armorial service for the Dutch market with the arms of Nauta and Swalue. References: Cohen & Cohen 2004, p38, No 22, a pair of sauce tureens from the Nauta/Swalue service.
porcelain shell-form salt, Meissen, mid 18th century (private collection)
porcelain shell-form salt, Meissen with kakiemon style decoration, c 1735-40 (image WWWarner Antiques)
Chinese export porcelain shell-form armorial salt, arms of Nauta/Swalue, circa 1763, (private collection)
28 Holy Water Stoupe Qianlong period circa 1760 European Market Height: 8¼ inches; 21cm
So long as man remains free he strives for nothing so incessantly and so painfully as to find something to worship. Fyodor Dostoyevsky, The Brothers Karamazov (1879-80)
A very rare Chinese export porcelain famille rose holy water stoupe or font and cover, the back plate decorated with peony and the basin and cover of ribbed form. Such fonts or stoupes are intended to hold small quantities of holy water, usually with a sponge, for people to dip their fingers in before making the sign of the cross. They were often placed at the entrances to churches or holy sites. The form is known in defltware, faïence and metalwork but is rare in Chinese export porcelain. Dias 1996, suggests that the presence of a lid means it was probably for private use rather than in a church. A pair of the same type and decoration as this is in the Museu da Fundação Ricardo do Espírito Santo Silva, Lisbon. A few examples are known in blue and white of similar shape, marked IHS to the back plate, for the Jesuits (see right). References: Antunes 2000, p55, No 39, a pair identical to this example, in the collection of Ricardo do Espírito Santo Silva, also published Antunes 1999, p91; Dias 1996, p52-3, discussion of such pieces; Sargent 2012, p310, a blue and white example in the Peabody Essex Museum, Salem MA (AE85322.ab) purchased from Cohen & Cohen in 1996 and reference to a second example in the museum (E82867) purchased from Cohen & Pearce in 1990; a fragment of a blue and white back plate, now in the Bangkok National Museum, Thailand, was excavated in 1984 from San Petro, a Dominican church destroyed by the Burmese in 1767, at Ayutthaya, a former Portuguese settlement; Cohen & Cohen 2014, No 22, a further blue and white example; Sapage, 1992, cat 24, a blue and white example of different shape with back-plate in the form of a crucifix, and inscribed IHS; Pinto de Matos 2011, Vol 3, p194, No 492, a blue and white cruciform stoupe.
Chinese porcelain blue and white stoupe, circa 1750, Cohen & Cohen 2014, No 12)
29 Meatdish Qianlong period circa 1770 European Market Length: 16¾ inches; 43cm A fine Chinese export porcelain meatdish decorated with the ‘tobacco leaf’ pattern in underglaze blue and famille rose enamels, with leaves and flowers, the rim lobed to imitate a leaf edge. The origins of the tobacco leaf design remain unclear though it is thought to have been inspired by designs on Indian textiles. It was very popular in the second half of the eighteenth century and appears in a wide range of versions which included pheasants or treeshrews and in so-called ‘pseudo-tobacco leaf’, with different colours, as well as a later nineteenth century versions in very thick bright enamels. References: Debomy 2013, p289, other examples like this, which the author classifies as pattern A1; Cohen & Cohen 2015, p74-5, Nos 489, a teapot and mug decorated in the same pattern.
30 Pair of Vases & Covers Qianlong period circa 1780 English or American Market Height: 18Â˝ inches; 47cm A pair of Chinese export porcelain vases and covers of flattened pear shape with stylised dragon handles to the sides, decorated with large panels depicting scenes of figures in gardens, reserved on a Y-diaper ground, the finials to the covers modelled as Dogs of Fo. A bright and elegant pair of vases of the best quality of this period, with a usefully flattened shape, thought to be ideal for a narrow mantelpiece or small wall brackets.
31 Pair of Boughpots & Covers Qianlong period circa 1780 English or American Market Height: 14Âź inches; 36cm A very large pair of Chinese porcelain boughpots and covers, decorated in the mandarin palette with panels of Chinese scenes within borders of underglaze blue.
32 Jardinière Qianlong period 1736-96 Chinese Market Height: 7½ inches; 19cm A rare Chinese cloisonné enamel jardinière decorated with two rows of rectangular panels separated by raised bands of twisted-rope design, each panel with three flower heads variously enamelled in blue, yellow and white borne on scrolling tendrils reserved on a brown ground, the rim chased with scrolling tendrils, supported by three gilt kneeling boys each dressed in floral robes encircled by billowing ribbons.
References: Compendium of Collections in the Palace Museum: Enamels 4, Cloisonné in the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), Beijing, 2011, plate 6, a similar jardinière in the Palace Museum, Beijing; Colorful, Elegant, and Exquisite: A Special Exhibition of Imperial Enamel Ware from Mr. Robert Chang's Collection, Suzhou, 2007, p84-85, a similar example.
A successful man is one who makes more money than his wife can spend. A successful woman is one who can find such a man. Lana Turner (1920-1995)
33 Desk Set Qianlong period 1736-96 Chinese Market Length: 10 inches; 26cm An extremely rare Chinese painted enamel on copper desk set, the tray in the form of a leaf with four writing items moulded as fruit and flowers. This is an extraordinary example of the skill of the craftsmen in the enamel workshops in Canton. Made in the Imperial workshops it was certainly for the Chinese market though few comparable examples exist. A similar leaf shaped tray sold at auction recently in Hong Kong. References: The Complete Collection of Treasures of the Palace Museum, Metal-bodied Enamel Ware, Hong Kong, 2002, pl. 194, a single peach-form waterpot with Yongzheng mark, attributed to beijing Palace workshops, that was in the China, The Three Emperors 1662-1795, exhibition in London 2005 at the Royal Academy (cat No 295).
I shall be an autocrat, thatâ€™s my trade. And the good Lord will forgive me: thatâ€™s his. Catherine the Great (1729-96)
34 Oval dish Qianlong period 1736-96 Chinese Market Length: 11 inches; 28cm A rare Chinese painted enamel oval dish, decorated with a scene of seated Europeans, the rim with puce panels of flowers reserved on a green trellis diaper ground. This very finely painted European subject dish, made for the Chinese market, is an example of what might be called ‘reverse chinoiserie’ - it is a Chinese made piece with scenes of Europeans intended for a Chinese market. Just as chinoiserie designs on, for example, Meissen porcelains of this date have a particular style of Chinese figures and scenes that are a long way from the Chinese reality, having been filtered though the eyes of Westerners, so does this dish have a style of Western figures filtered through Chinese eyes. The composition of this scene is quirky and strange, including the uncertain use of perspective and inclusion of Chinese vases and furniture, and it belongs to a small group of such pieces painted by Chinese artists attempting to create entertaining images of European figures. There is no original print source for this - rather it is a Chinese assembly using elements from prints and books that they may have seen but which have been imperfectly understood. This particular group of designs is poorly understood and has been little studied to date. In 1925 a discovery was made in the Forbidden Palace of a collection of very fine hua falang or 'painted enamels' which came from the period 1720-1780. Each was packed in individual cedarwood boxes and stored in the Duanning Palace, next to the east wing of the Qianqing Palace. These items are now in the National Palace Museum, Taipei. The objects tell the story of the evolution of Chinese enamelling, beginning with the activities in the reign of Kangxi. The Emperor was fascinated by the different techniques of enamelling on metal, glass, Yixing wares and porcelain and encouraged experimentation and the importing of ideas and expertise from the West. He extended the Beijing Workshops in 1693 and built a glass factory in 1696 under the direction of Kilian Stumpf (1655-1720) who taught the Chinese how to prepare different enamel colours. By 1706 Kangxi was distributing enamelled glasswares as presents and enamelled copper
boxes with Kangxi marks are known from this period. By the end of his reign the French Jesuit Missionary Jean Baptiste Gravereau was supervising the enamelling and this coincides with the development of the pink enamel that gave its name to famille rose. The artistic styles of enamels during the reign of Kangxi were mainly Chinese, derived from cloisonné. But under Yongzheng the designs flourished, influenced by European enamels brought to the workshops and by painters such as Castiglione, who is known to have painted in enamels, and his student Lin Chaokai who was active during Yongzheng's reign. The European designs merely acted as a starting point for the Chinese enamel painting. The Emperor Qianlong continued this tradition of enamel painting but showed his own interest in Western Images by encouraging the use of Western figures and landscapes, including European hunting scenes. He further developed the workshops and moved some of them to Canton where items continued to be made in this style. In the early years this workshop in Canton also made pieces of very high quality that were exported to the west, in particular to the Scandinavian market. The Danish supercargo Christen Lintrup de Lindencrone (1704-1772) was in Canton in 1738 and 1741 and brought back fine pieces for Royal customers in Denmark and Sweden, including a group of sconces ordered for the Danish royal appartments of Sophie Magdelene of Brandenburg-Kulmbach, the wife of Christian VI. The imperial workshop ceased interaction with the export trade and new workshops were set up to supply it. The painted enamel european subject (and european shaped) pieces were popular and continued also to use these ‘reverse chinoiserie’ designs, though somewhat reduced in quality. Very few examples of European prints directly copied in enamel on copper are known and only a handful that are found both on enamel and on porcelain. References: Yang Boda, Tributes from Guangdong to the Qing Court, an exhibition catalogue that reattributes some ‘Beijing' enamel pieces of this type to Guangzhou workshops; for trays of this shape with similar decoration, see Arapova, Chinese Painted Enamels, pl. 108, p. 163, in the collection of the State Hermitage Museum, St Petersburg; and Hildburgh, Chinese Painted Enamels with European Subjects, pl. 1A; Cohen & Cohen 2015, p30-31, two similar enamel trays with european subjects; Clemmensen, T and Mackeprang, MB. 1980, pp148-58, discussion of Lintrup’s voyages.
35 Teapot & Cover Qianlong period circa 1740 European or Chinese Market Height: 7 inches; 18cm A Chinese painted enamel on copper teapot and cover, of hexaonal section and high, narrow form, with six panels of Chinese landscapes, the shoulder with smaller panels of Daoist precious objects. This is an example of the finest quality painted enamel made for both the domestic market and for export to the West. It is an early example probably made just after the separation of production in Canton of the Imperial and commercial market enamel pieces. References: Arapova et al 2003, Cat No 92, a similar teapot;
Some old men, continually praise the time of their youth. In fact, you would almost think that there were no fools in their days, but unluckily they themselves are left as an example. Alexander Pope (1688-1744)
36 Snuff Box Qianlong period 1736-96 Chinese or European Market Length: 2½ x 2 x ¾ inches; 6.5 x 5 x 1.5 cm A Chinese painted enamel snuff box, the top painted with a scene of Europeans, the interior with a landscape of mountains and a river, with European white metal box and mounts. This is exceptionally well painted and it is not clear whether this is intended for export or, like Item 34 in this catalogue, for the Chinese market. The interior scene has a Chinese window and neo-classical arches with a slightly awkward perspective, suggesting that this composition is one created by a Chinese artist mimicking a Western subject. However the three central figure are possibly taken from a french ornament print, of a type knowns as ‘dessus de tabatière’, which were produced in the first twenty years of the eighteenth century, many by Bernard Picart and others who were reworking larger mythological or semi-eroticworks by established artists. A large number of such prints are now known to have been sources for designs on export teawares and snuff boxes from about 1735-1755.
37 Lidded Box Qianlong period 1736-96 Islamic Market Length: 7 x 5 x 4 inches; 18 x 12.5 x 10 cm A Chinese painted enamel box of rectangular form, richly decorated with swirling foliage to all sides and top, a circular clasp to the front. This rare box is intended for the Islamic market and copies patterns found in middle eastern textiles and ceramics of the period and earlier. In particular the colouring and stylised flowers are reminiscent of Isnik pottery tile designs. The clasp is of a type found on many items of Chinese furniture.
Religion, which should most distinguish us from the beasts, and ought most particularly elevate us, as rational creatures, above brutes, is that wherein men often appear most irrational, and more senseless than beasts. John Locke, An Essay Concerning Human Understanding (1689)
38 Meatdish Qianlong period circa 1770-80 English Market Length: 14Âž inches; 38cm A very rare Chinese porcelain meatdish of octagonal shape, painted in underglaze blue with scenes of the manufacture of porcelain, the rim with a border of reserves on a cell diaper. Images of the manufacture of porcelain actually drawn on porcelain are relatively rare and this is a fine example. For an account of the manufacture see the next item in this catalogue. References: Cohen & Cohen 2006, p54, No 33, a blue and white punchbowl with a very similar scene as here on one side.
The number of those who undergo the fatigue of judging for themselves is very small indeed. Richard Brinsley Sheridan (1751-1816)
porcelain punchbowl, circa 1770, with the same view as this meatdish.
39 Pair of Vases Daoguang period 1821-1850 Chinese Market Height: 24 inches; 60cm A pair of large famille rose vases, of baluster shape with wide everted rims, decorated with extensive scenes of the manufacture and decoration of porcelain in mirror image on each vase, with pink stylised qilin handles, the interior in turquoise. These vases were made for the Chinese market and have a lively and characterful display of activity. They show the firing and decorating of the porcelain in the â€œImperial Porcelain Workshopâ€? at Jingdezhen in an artificially constructed schematic that includes many fine details that would have been familiar to those who were actually making these vases. The mirror image layout for each vase is an unusual feature and is found generally in vases for important Chinese commissions. A similar pair of vases is known in a private collection with different scenes, and a single vase is on display in the museum of the Forbidden city in Beijing (see below) also showing the Imperial Porcelain Workshop. the second side of one of these vases, showing the kilns of the Imperial Porcelain Workshop
vase on show in the Museum of the Forbidden City, Beijing
So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past. F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby
Porcelain Manufacture To seventeenth-century Europeans, used to coarse earthenware, the translucent, vitreous porcelain coming from China seemed to have magical properties. Some even believed that a porcelain cup would betray the presence of poison by a change in appearance. This, together with the mystery surrounding its composition, ensured that porcelain was a highly regarded and very expensive commodity. The origins of the word porcelain are complex. It seems to have been used first by Marco Polo to describe Chinese pottery in the late thirteenth century; he also used it to describe cowrie shells, which are held to resemble little pigs (porcellus is Latin for little pig). The similarity of the white porcelain to the cowrie shells in appearance and texture when broken accounts for the conflation of terminology. Exact dating of the first porcelain production is contentious, with some experts putting it as far back as the Eastern Han. There is certainly evidence for the mixing of the two key components of porcelain, and Eastern Han kilns could have fired at the high temperatures required. These wares are usually referred to as proto-porcelain, but the date of the transition to true porcellaneous wares is not clear. The manufacture of porcelain in China came about not by a sudden discovery but as the result of a process of evolution and experimentation during the Tang (618–906 AD) and Song (960–1127AD) dynasties. During the Tang dynasty, ceramics progressed from earthen wares with low firing temperatures to stoneware in which the addition of vitrifying agents allowed higher firing temperatures and a stronger body that, although still opaque, would ring like a bell when tapped. An Arab traveller in the Tang dynasty described ‘a very fine clay with which they make vases that are as transparent as glass’. During the Song dynasty, it was found that increasing the proportion of the fine clay found in the Gaoling Hills near Jingdezhen and firing to a still-higher temperature allowed a thinner, translucent body. Unlike the Europeans, the Chinese did not distinguish between stoneware and porcelain. As both were made from the same materials, were vitrified, and rang when tapped, they were considered the same. White hard-paste porcelain was widely produced in the Yuan Dynasty (1271–1368) and was developed and perfected from then on. There was no equal in the West, and its manufacture was long regarded
detail of a porcelain punchbowl, circa 1770, showing Chinese miners carying materials from the Gaoling hills to Jingdezhen.
as a mystery. Porcelain consists of two ingredients that have different properties and are gathered in different ways, though both ultimately derive from the weathering of granitic rocks: detail from one of these vases, showing kaolin and petuntse. porters entering Jingdezhen. It was the fortunate discovery of the refractory china clay in the Gaoling Hills that allowed the Chinese to be the first to produce true porcelain. Resulting from chemical changes in a mixture of feldspar, granite, and pegmatite, this clay was the only one to fire to a white body; although similar clays were discovered in many other parts of the world, kaolin (the name comes from an early Western transcription of Gaoling) remains the generic term for this type of clay. Kaolin is the 'bones' of the porcelain. This fine white clay containing principally aluminium hydroxide, silicon dioxide, and varying amounts of mica is infusible (it does not melt) and gives the unfired porcelain its plasticity. Petuntse (from bai dunzi, ‘white paste bricks’) is known as the 'flesh' of the porcelain; it is fusible, melting at high temperatures, which renders it translucent. It consists of aluminium silicates and potash gathered from granite rocks that have been beaten and crushed mechanically; the resultant powder is washed and dried into small white bricks. The stones were mined in the mountains around Jingdezhen, and the many streams there provided power to pound the rocks with hammers. The resultant paste had to be successively washed and suspended in water to remove impurities.
detail from one of these vases showing mixing
Glaze is made by mixing petuntse with small amounts of limestone and ash from burnt ferns. The silicon dioxide provides the glassiness, and the aluminium oxide holds it in place as it is fired in the kiln. Glaze was once applied with a goat-hair brush, with which it was difficult to get an even coat, so eventually the potters dipped pots in the
glaze and then blew on them. Kaolin and petuntse are combined into a final paste that, when fired at high temperatures, gives the porcelain its prized features: it can be formed into complex shapes or thin layers, it is semi-translucent and of a fine whiteness, and it rings like a bell when struck gently. The early Yuan porcelain mainly used petuntse with only a little kaolin and was fired at 1,250 degrees, but by the beginning of the Qing the mixture was of roughly equal parts petuntse and kaolin and required firing at 1,350 degrees. The kilns were large; there was a temperature gradient within, with the hottest detail from one of these vases part being at the front, so they were packed with objects according to the ratio of petuntse to kaolin and the types of glazes, allowing correct firing at different temperatures, all within one kiln. Two detailed accounts of the manufacture of porcelain from the early Qing are known. The first was by PĂ¨re Francois Xavier d'Entrecolles during the reign of the Kangxi emperor. His epistolary descriptions of porcelain manufacture amount to what we would call industrial espionage. The second account was written in 1743 when the imperial supervisor at Jingdezhen, Tang Ying, produced a memoir, Twenty Illustrations of the Manufacture of Porcelain. The accompanying text has survived, though the illustrations have not. They include such processes as:
detail from the previous item in this catalogue
Burning the Ashes and Preparing the Glaze; Manufacture of the Saggars; and Painting the Round Ware in Blue. The centre of porcelain manufacture was at Jingdezhen in the province of Kiangsi close to the source of the china clay. Jingdezhen was between Beijing in the north and Canton in the south and had a mixture of roadway and waterway connections with both. The wares from the imperial kilns were transported to Beijing and those of the commercial kilns to Canton. There were many potteries, large and small, but the method of manufacture was constant. Kaolin and petuntse were measured together with chemical fluxes to aid fusion. The resultant powder was mixed with water and stirred to a smooth consistency before being trodden underfoot. Sand and quartz were heated, pulverized, and added to the mix, creating a thick paste that was put aside to mature before use. This period of maturation was to allow the escape of air bubbles, which would otherwise expand on firing, destroying the work. The potter would take the prepared clay, carefully kneading out any remaining air bubbles before forming it on a wheel, in a mould, or by hand. In the production of a dinner service, many moulds would be made so that the potters could work in groups. These moulds would be carefully detail from a fishtank, circa 1735, (Cohen & Cohen 2012) preserved for later use, allowing further orders to be made at lower cost and higher profit. The shaped pieces were allowed to dry, often for many months, before further work was undertaken. This was necessary to prevent the damp clay from deforming on further handling. More complex pieces, such as teapots and large vases, could then be assembled
There was a great deal of wastage in these from their separate firings, and it was not unusual to open a kiln after three components, which were weeks only to find that the contents had fused into one joined using clay diluted solid mass. with water, known as slip. Smaller muffle kilns were used for firing This can leave 'luting' lines enamel decoration, the enamels being coloured glazes at the joins. vitrifying at lower temperatures than the top glaze. Several Application of firings would be required, starting with the enamels that gum tragacanth to the developed at high temperature and working down to unfired surface prevented those developing at low temperature. There was less any underglaze decoration wastage at this stage, due to the lower temperatures from being absorbed into detail from a fishtank, circa 1735, required. the clay. Underglaze showing the use of the blowpipe Underglaze decoration had to be done at decoration was usually Jingdezhen and required great expertise, as mistakes could painted in cobalt-blue or, more rarely, copper-red. Glaze be neither erased nor covered, but enamel decoration was now applied either indirectly, by dipping in a could also be undertaken in Canton, close to the ships suspension of powdered glaze in water, or directly, by a arriving from Europe. bamboo blowpipe covered at the end by The enamelling workshops were busy a muslin sieve. In either case, the skill places, employing men, women and was to apply just the right amount of children; many disabled people worked glaze. Too little and the piece would be in Jingdezhen, as disability was no spoiled by unglazed patches; too much disadvantage to a painter and even the and it would be spoiled by runs, forming blind could grind colours. Each painter streaks on the body and drops of had a speciality, which could be solidified glaze at the base. anything from a wavy line used in a The next phase was the highborder, to a cow or the cloth of a temperature firing, which was the least predictable part of the manufacturing detail from one of these vases showing a kiln Mandarinâ€™s robe. One painter would being loaded and the stacks of saggers draw an outline and another would process. The porcelain was placed on a apply the colour, so that a piece of bed of sand with a sprinkling of fire clay porcelain could pass through as many as and stacked in saggers, covered boxes seventy pairs of hands during its made from refractory clay. For some large manufacture. figures it was necessary to build small It appears that small factories scaffolds within the sagger to hold the specialised in particular shapes. A object in place and prevent it collapsing dinner service would come from several during firing and these attachments left independent factories: one making small marks on the objects. plates, one cups and saucers, one The stacks of saggers were then tureens, and so on. If one of these placed in the kiln according to their factories closed, it could become fragility, the strongest near the door, the difficult, and occasionally impossible, to most delicate near the centre. The firing could take from two days to three weeks, detail from one of these vases showing a kiln obtain the item in which it had being fired and fueled specialised, with the result that the depending on the size of the wares, and composition of the service would have occurred in three phases: low to be changed. temperature, high temperature, and At its peak, in the eighteenth century, cooling, the last being the longest phase. Great skill was Jingdezhen was home to two million people (a population required in maintaining the correct temperature, which greater than many of the European countries buying its could be judged only by the colour of the flames, which wares), most involved in the production of porcelain. The were fuelled by a mixture of wood and straw. city, built on a grid system similar to modern American
cities, was never dark, with more than three thousand kilns burning day and night. Government was by a single mandarin, and the city was policed by a number of detail from a punchbowl, c 1770, showing the loading docks for the finished porcelain leaders, each of whom controlled ten men responsible for ten houses each. The streets were barricaded at night and guards set, and crime was almost unknown. Despite the sophistication of production of the porcelain, its transport was rather more haphazard. The porcelains were carried from warehouse to ship piled on planks balanced on men’s shoulders. Some was carried overland north to Nanjing (Nanking) for transhipment to both Beijing and Canton, or south via Nanchang to Canton. On that route, coolie labour was used to transport porcelain over the Nanling mountain range, which ran east–west, via the Meiling Pass. As far as the Europeans in Canton were concerned, the Chinese merchants travelled to ‘The Uplands’ or to Nanjing to make their purchases, and thus the misunderstanding arose that Nanjing was the place of manufacture of the porcelain.
detail from one of these vases showing porcelain decoartion, including a vase of this shape
Kiln Directors Early in his reign, the Kangxi emperor set about the reestablishment of the imperial kilns; his original intention was to rebuild the kilns in Beijing, but he was thwarted by a conservative civil service and the prospect of moving the workforce from the commercial kilns at Jingdezhen to Beijing. In 1683, he appointed as director of the imperial kiln Cang Yingxuan, who had previously been secretary of the Imperial Works Department in Beijing. Unlike previous directors, who were merely civil servants and administrators, Cang Yingxuan appears to have been a master potter who took a very active part in the production process and encouraged the development of
detail from one of these vases showing a kiln director surveying the work in the Imperial Porcelain Workshop
new glazes, some of which, added to the wucai palette of the late Ming period, gave rise to the famille verte palette. This consisted of a range of translucent greens and yellows, a manganese blue, aubergine, black, and iron red. The new director also sourced and refined some of the finest cobalt blue for use in underglaze decoration. Under his directorship the town of Jingdezhen grew to a population of one million, with a four-mile perimeter and three thousand working kilns. Many of these were commercial kilns producing wares for the domestic market, but increasingly they were manufacturing pieces for export to Europe. Of course with such mass production, the majority of the output was derivative and ordinary compared with the more refined work of the Ming dynasty. The Yongzheng emperor, in the 4th year of his
short reign, appointed Nian Xiyao as director of the imperial kiln. Where his predecessor had been a master potter, the new director, who was also recruited from the Palace Office of Works, was an artist. Nian claimed to be a pupil of Lang Shining, which was the Chinese name of Castiglioni, the Italian Jesuit who became the greatest of the court painters, marrying European and Chinese styles to great effect. With the new director came a shift of emphasis from form to decoration, and nowhere was this more apparent than in the eggshell wares of the period. Decoration was done in small muffle kilns. Because it was not necessary for these to be located in Jingdezhen, it was around this time that most overglaze decoration was relocated to Canton, where the finest enamellers were already working on copper. The enamelling of this period could be exquisite, and during the directorship of Nian
Xiyao enamelling and sophistication of decoration reached a peak. The accession of the Qianlong emperor led to two major changes. The first was an increased interest in the West and Western art and technology, all of which fascinated the new emperor. The second was the appointment in 1736 of a new director of the imperial kiln, Tang Ying. Tang had been Nian Xiyaoâ€™s deputy since 1728 and would direct the kilns until 1753. Where the previous directors had been specialists, Tang Ying was a Renaissance man. He was interested in every aspect of production from the potting and painting to the writing of poetry on important imperial pieces. He kept meticulous records, and his knowledge of clay and the compounds for producing glazes was unsurpassed. He was responsible for the development of many new glazes. Under his stewardship, anything and everything was deemed possible. It was during the tenure of Tang Ying that the greatest advances were made in the manufacture of porcelain; the employment of these advances by the commercial kilns led to a golden age in the manufacture of export wares. The finest and most complex of Chinese export figures were produced during this period.
40 Meat Dish Qianlong period circa 1745-50 English Market Length: 15Â˝ inches; 39 cm A Chinese export porcelain oval meatdish decorated in underglaze blue with a scene of a large mansion surrounded by trees with four large birds (pheasants), the rim with European style scrolling, This meatdish is from a well known Chinese service that appears to have an image of Burghley House. The style of the drawing and the border suggest that it is copying a European ceramic original, possibly English delft. The building is identified by Howard & Ayers 1974, from the similarity with a grisaille image on a Chinese punchbowl of circa 1735 that is still at Burghley (No cer0075). Also at Burghley is an English delftware dish (No cer0728) with a blue and white view of Burghley, with a large tree to the left and several to the right in a composition resembling the Chinese one, though lacking the birds, or any decorative border. Another example is in the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge (No C.1569-1928). These are thought to derive from a print by Johannes Kip (1653-1722) in Nouveau ThĂŠatre de la Grande Bretagne, 1715 after a drawing by Leonard Knyff (1650-1722). References: Howard & Ayers 1978, p261; Archer, Michael, English Delftware, exhibition catalogue, Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam (undated, circa 1972-3), No 112, an example of the English delftware dish.
detail of delftware dish with Burghley House, circa 1720
Never underestimate the power of stupid people in large groups. Anon. (often mistakenly attributed to George Carlin)
41 Dinner Plate Kangxi/Yongzheng period circa 1720-5 Portuguese Market Diameter: 8½ inches (21.5cm) A very rare small dinner plate enamelled in rouge-de-fer and gold with a central armorial shield, surrounded by scrolling vine with clusters of grapes, the cavetto with floral reserves and chrysanthemums on a swastika trellis ground. These arms have been identified as those of Pedro (or Pero) Vaz Soares Bacelar, Fidalgo da Casa de Sua Magestade, born circa 1645, the son of Duarte Claudio Huet and Constança Malheiro Pereira Bacelar Sotomaior. Constança was the daughter of Marcos Malheiro Pereira Bacelar & Helena de Meireles Sotomaior. Marcos was Knight of the Order of Christ and General of the Minho army and was also significantly involved in paper manufacture in the city of Braga. Pedro was probably named after his 4 x great uncle, Pedro Vaz Bacelar who became Friar Geronimo. Pedro had at least one brother Antonio. Pedro was an Infantry Captain and adventurer in India and seems to have travelled widely in the Portuguese colonies, becoming Governor of Mombasa Fort. In 1701 he is listed as a captain in Fort Bassein (Baçaim), a dependency of Goa in western India. He married Maria Cyrne (her third marriage she had first married Rodrigues Garcia de Tavora in India and then Roque Pacheco Corte-Real). They had one son recorded, Carlos Vaz Cyrne Bacellar, who is listed as Fidalgo Cavalleiro, por Alvará, in 1697, and who died without issue. A slightly earlier blue and white example has been previously published, but was then unidentified (Cohen & Cohen 1999). It is very unusual to have a service rendered in two colours like this and it remains possible that they were ordered at different times. The use of scrolling vine in the decoration is a feature of porcelain made for the Portuguese Market in this period. The arms here are loosely drawn and the crest has become a deer rather than a lion or leopard with a vine leaf on its head. The animal is also facing the 'wrong' direction as the convention for crests is to face the other
way. However this suggests that the Chinese artists were presented with a seal fob or signet ring to copy - and this, of course, would have the crest reversed so a wax imprint would then be correct. Such a small item might also be difficult to read and could explain the demi-lion with a vine leaf on its forehead (something unfamiliar to the Chinese) being interpreted as a deer. References: Castro 2007, p107, the blue and white plate with attribution of these arms; Felgueiras Gayo Carvalhos de Basto 1989 (originally 1938), Nobiliário das Famílias de Portugal, Braga, 2nd Edition, Vol II, p357, genealogy of this family; Diccionario Aristocratico (Fidalgos de Casa Real), 1840, p378, lists Pedro as Fidalgo.
Armorial Lusitano, p73
a modern version of the arms
Illustrious Families of Portugal, p6
42 Large Dinner Plate Kangxi/Yongzheng period circa 1720-5 Portuguese Market Diameter: 10½ inches; 27cm A rare Chinese armorial porcelain large plate brightly decorated in verte imari enamels with a coat of arms surrounded by elaborate decoration in the ‘grotesque’ style, the rim with bulls’ heads. The arms are disputed, either for the Portuguese family Ataide or the Italian family of Marini. The coat is very simple and thus fits with numerous families, the crest is also a popular one. The consensus today seems to be that this was made for D. Luis Peregrino de Ataide (1700 - 1755), 10th Count of Atouguia, Counsel to the Portuguese King John V, who was married in 1720 to Clara de Assis Mascarenhas, daughter of Fernando Mascarenhas, Count of Óbidos. A number of services with these arms are recorded with variations of the surrounding decoration but all of similar taste. One service appears to have the initials LA. However Howard & Ayers 1978, illustrate a book plate, circa 1750, belonging to Pietro Marini of Barnabita that is very similar to this: in the shape of the shield, the number of bars and the crest and crown. They also mention that the Marini family controlled a large fleet of merchant ships at this date. This type of decoration, including the winged sphinxes and the tented drapery is inspired by the designs of Jean Berain (1640-1711) and was very popular in the early eighteenth century, especially evident in the designs for the Beauvais tapestry factory by Jean-Baptiste Monnoyer (16361699).
Luis de Ataíde, 8th Count of Atouguia (1662-89) grandfather of the 10th Count, assassinated at age 27.
References: Pinto de Matos 2011, p53, No 421, a plate the same as this, and examples of other Ataide services; Harrison-Hall and Krahl 1994: cat 16, tureen in the BM, (Franks.734.a); Scheurleer 1966, pl. 99; de Castro, 1993 p70; Howard & Ayers 1978, Vol II, p450, Nos 457 and 457a (this design) and illustration of arms of Marini and discussion of the heraldry; Castro 1987, p55; Pinto de Matos et al 1998, p214, No 43; other examples are in the Fundação Oriente, Lisbon; Museu Nacional de Arte Antiga, Lisbon; Museum het Princesshof, Leeuwarden.
Jerónimo de Ataíde, 6th Count of Atouguia (1610-55) showing the Ataide arms upper left.
43 Soup Plate Qianlong period circa 1775 Spanish Market Diameter: 9 inches; 23cm A fine Chinese export armorial porcelain soup plate, with a central coat of arms in famille rose enamels, the rim having a garland of flowers in puce and brown. These are from a large service of 1,114 pieces bearing the arms of a lady, Juana Antonia Bucareli y Baeza, 4th Marchioness of Vallehermoso, Grandee of Spain and 6th Countess of Gerena. She was born in Seville, 1739 and married her uncle Nicolas Bucareli in 1757. She died in 1810. Her husband was Governor of Cadiz. The service is mentioned in a letter from Jose Alergui y Leoz to another of Juanaâ€™s uncles Antonio Maria Bucareli (and also, therefore, her brother-in-law) written from Manila, in which he mentions the size of the service. Antonio Maria Bucareli was a significant figure, Governor of Cuba and Viceroy of New Spain (177179). References: Diaz 2010, p274, No 39, where some of the service is illustrated with much information; some pieces from this service are in the Metropolitan Museum, New York, The Helena Woolworth McCann Collection (51.86.380ab-.382); there is a sauce tureen modelled as a seated buddhai with these arms on its belly in the RA Collection, No 529.
Antonio Maria Bucareli (1717-79)
44 Dinner Plate Qianlong period circa 1750 Spanish Market Diameter: 9 inches; 23cm A Chinese armorial dinner plate painted en grisaille and gilt with an elaborate central arms and a du Paquier style border to the rim. The arms are Ovando quartering Solís, Tapete and Aldana, and in the centre Mayoralgo. Around the oval shield are a complex series of flags and symbols and then a rococo mantling in which are hidden the letters OBANDO. This service was ordered for Francisco José de Ovando y Solís, 1st Marquis of Ovando (1693-1755). He was the son of Pedro Mateo de Ovando Rol and Lucrecia de Solís y Aldana. After a successful early military career for which he was made Marquis of Castell-Brindisi in 1734 (later changed to Ovando), he was appointed Chief Inspector of the South Sea Fleet and in 1745 was interim Governor of Chile during which time he founded the University of Chile. He married in 1749, María Bárbara de Ovando y Rivadeneyra, in Puebla de los Ángeles, New Spain. In 1750 he was made Governor of the Philippines and served there until 1754, during which time this service was ordered. He died on board ship in the Gulf of California on his way back to Acapulco. References: Sargent 2014, p124, No 29, a pair of plates; Díaz 2010, p130, No 10; items from this service are in the Museo Nacional de Artes Decorativas, Madrid and a cup is in the Victoria & Albert Museum, London.
45 Pair of Soup Plates Qianlong period circa 1737 French Market Diameter: 9 inches; 23cm A rare pair of Chinese porcelain dinner plates with brightly enamelled borders of pink and turquoise, the centre with a design of butterfly wings enclosing a grisaille bee, the rim with the accollée arms. The dexter arms are: Cardevac d’Havrincourt: d’hermines au chef de sable. (unicorn supporters). and sinister: Languet de Gergy, d’azur au triangle, cléché et renversé d’or, chargé de trois molettes d’éperon de geules, una à chaque pointe du triangle. This was ordered for the marriage, 10 June 1737, of Louis de Cardevac, marquis d’Havrincourt (17071767) and Atnoinette Barbonne Thérèse Languet de Gergy (d 1780). Both were well connected and from old families with strong ties to the Catholic Church. Louis was son of François-Dominique de Cardevac (1665-1747) and Anne-Gabrielle d’Osmond (d1762). Their marriage contract of 1705 was signed by Louis XIV. AnneGabrielle was taken under the wing of Madame de Maintenon, Louis XIV’s morganatic second Louis Cardevac wife. She wrote to Anne-Gabrielle after Gustaf Lundberg at the time of her marriage: (detail) “Enfin, ma chère fille, soyez un bonne chrétienne, une bonene femme, et une bonne mère, remplissez bien tous vos devoirs, établissez bien votre réputation, et priezpour moi.” In a later letter she advised: “Vous connaissez la cour, et vous n'en serez jamais engouée; Paris est pernicieux pour les femmes.” Significantly Louis de Cardevac was christened by François Fénelon (1651-1715) Archbishop of Cambrai, who had been tutor to the young Louis, Duke of Burgundy, the father of Louis XV. While working as Royal tutor Fénelon wrote the novel Les Aventures de Télémaque, which became a huge influence thoughout the eighteenth century. At least two illustrations from editions of the 1720s are known on Chinese export porcelain. Louis de Cardevac had a wide ranging military and diplomatic career, being Ambassador to Britain (1748), then Sweden and The Netherlands. Antoinette Languet de Gergy was the only daughter of Jacques-Vincent de Languet, comte de Gergy (1667-1734), who was French Ambassador to the the Republic of Venice and who features in a major painting
by Canaletto. He was a patron of the composer Vivaldi. Antoinette had four uncles: two French Generals, one L’Abbé de St Sulpice and one was Archbishop of Sens. Her mother, Anne Henry, was book plate with arms of celebrated as a great Languet de Gergy beauty by Jean-Jacques Rousseau. Louis & Antoinette had at least five children, two sons and three daughters, and he was succeeded by his eldest son Anne-Gabriel Pierre (b1739). During the revolutionary terror of 1793, the tombs of the d’Havrincourt church were ransacked and their bones thrown around. However Louis’ Antoinette Languet by embalmed body had been Rosalba Carriera (detail) removed just in time. On 20 February 1800, in the dead of night, his twenty-two year old grandson Anaclet-Henri, aided by an elderly family retainer, Pierre-Louis Lupart, secretly descended into the crypt of the ruined church and replaced the body in its tomb. It wasn’t until 1868 that the tombs were fully restored by the family. The medieval Château d’Havrincourt, near Calais, had been visited by Madame de Maintenon in 1719, but was burnt during the French revolution, rebuilt in 1880, and then destroyed by the Germans during the First World War. It was rebuilt again in 1928. This service was previously unrecorded and the design very closely resembles another well known and distinctive service made with the arms of Grimaldi. References: Notice Historique sur la Maison de Cardevac d’Havrincourt (1885) Cambrai: J Renaut; Chevreul, Hubert Michel Eugène (1907) Généalogie des branches de Gergy et de Sivry; famille Languet; Dijon: Imprimerie Jobard; Grimaldi examples: Cohen & Cohen 2002, p27, No 17; Howard 1994, p77, cat 59; Forbes 1982, p45, No 80; Alves et al 1998, p297, No 108;
46 Armorial Dinner Plate Qianlong period circa 1755 French market Diameter: 9 inches; 23cm
des Genettes de Valazé (1751-1793) who married Ann de Broé in 1777. Dufriche-Valazé was initially an enthusiastic revolutionary and Mayor of Alençon but he fell foul of Marat who had him arrested with the Girondins in 1793 and
A Chinese export dinner plate decorated at the centre and border with bunches of purple flowers, the border surmounted with the arms of Du Friche and de Beauvillain accollée. This elegant design is very unusual and is known on no other services. The du Friche family is from Normandy and Nicolas du Friche (1690-1758), Sieur des Genettes, was a successful lawyer and politician. According to Jougla de Morenas, 1952 (Vol 4, p71 and ref. Nouveau d'Hozier 145) the arms were granted in 1656 in Normandie (corrected from Versailles, Jougla Vol 7 p265) : D'argent à un épervier de sable becqué onglé griffé de gue et un chef d'azure chargé de 3 étoiles d'or (the phrase 'becqué onglé griffé' refers to a resourcefull defensive position). Several members of this family were significant in the post revolutionary period in France but it has not yet proved possible to find any of them using these arms. The sinister arms are de Beauvillain, given in Rietstap as from Poitou - (Arm. gén. de 1696): De gueules au chevron d'or acc de trois étoiles du mesme et surmonté en chef d'un croissant d'argent. The Beavillain family were based in Poitou and long established, and one was also Seigneur de Vau. No marriage between the du Friche family and the Beavillain family - as this accollée arms would suggest has yet been found. The marriage would have been about the time of the order of the armorial service, which is dated circa 1755 from enamels and border type, so the couple therefore would have been born approximately between 1710 and 1725. One René Beauvillain married Jeanne Menou in 1722 and had at least two daughters Marie and Anne who could have been the bride of a du Friche, possibly a younger brother of Nicolas. Research has shown that he had a nephew or great-nephew, René Dufriche (17621837) who became Baron Desgenettes and served as senior medical officer under Napoleon. His parents - as yet unidentified - might have ordered this service. In the biographies his father is given as 'avocat au Parlement de Rouen' - a position also held by Nicolas. However René later had his own arms created, which do include a band of three stars, when he was ennobled. Nicolas du Friche (1690-1758) was a lawyer for the parliament in Rouen and married in 1741 to Francoise Le Sergent (1709-1770). Two of his sons married sisters of the de Broé family, including Charles Éléanor Dufriche
tried for treason. Upon conviction he drew a dagger in open court and stabbed himself in the heart rather than die on the guillotine. His companion in the dock Brissot is reported to have seen him shaking and, thinking him afraid, said: "Eh quoi? Tu trembles?" "Non, je meurs," replied Valazé who then expired. He had a son who was a general at Waterloo and in 1966 during renovations at a Hotel in Alençon leaflets were uncovered from 1793 written by Valazé declaring: ‘Je suis arrêté sans savoir pourquoi, sans même avoir de dénonciateur.’ References: Lebel 2009, p225; Jougla No. 16350; Joseph-François Michaud, Louis-Gabriel Michaud, Biographie universelle, ancienne et moderne, t. 47, Paris, Michaud frères, 1827, p. 275-8; various french genealogy websites, including geneanet and Rietstap online; Notice historique et littéraire sur Valazé, membre de la Convention Nationale, condamné à mort par le Tribunal Révolutionnaire, le 10 Brumaire an II, par Louis Dubois, bibliothécaire de l’École centrale de l’Orne, membre de la Société d’Émulation d’Alençon, À Paris, chez Goujon fils, Imprimeur-libraire, rue Taranne, no 737, An XI-1802, 8°, p27
47 Pair of Dinner Plates Qianlong period circa 1745-55 Italian or Dutch Market Diameter: 11 inches; 28cm A pair of Chinese armorial large dinner plates with a central armorial medallion, the rim brightly enamelled with scrolling designs, the edge lobed. These striking plates belong to one of the small number of memorable designs that are sought after by collectors of armorial porcelain - especially as they are very rare. The arms in the centre are for the Paravicini di Capelli familly originally from Lombardy in Italy but by the eighteenth century there were branches in Switzerland, Spain, The Netherlands and England. These were probably ordered by a member of the Dutch branch, who had moved to Holland from the Swiss district of Glarus. Several of the Dutch family were notable in the military and spent time in the Dutch colonies, which would have provided the opportunity to order such porcelains. One such was Elais Paravicini who was an artillary commander in Ceylon. Kroes 2007 suggests that these plates were ordered by Johannes Andreas Paravicini di Capelli (1710-1771) who was born in Barcelona to a Captain in the Spanish army and Maria Ellenburger from Altenburg, Saxony. At the age of fourteen he left home and went to Amsterdam to join the VOC as a soldier. He was in Ceylon in 1740 and appeared in Batavia working as an independent middleman from 1746-9 after which he rejoined the VOC as a commissioner, becoming Harbour Master in 1754 and a senior merchant. He went to Timor in 1756 on a diplomatic mission resulting in the Paravicini Treaty, an alliance between the VOC and a group of 48 chieftains against the Portuguese. He returned to Holland in 1759 and was married in 1766 to Marianne de Lambert, daughter of a Prussian captain. He died in 1771 a very wealthy man but without heirs. Johannes wrote extensive diaries and during his time in Timor he described being presented with two severed heads by a chieftain ‘with deep reverence and a dignified speech’ and how the warriors put peacock feathers in their hair and danced around the heads impaled on long poles. References: Hervouët & Bruneau 1986, p335, No 14.33, a plate; Kroes 2007, p313-4, Cat 230 with much information about the family; Hägerdal, Hans 2012, Lords of the Land, Lords of the Sea: Conflict and Adaptation in Early Colonial Timor, 1600-1800.
48 Dinner Plate Qianlong period circa 1743 English Market Diameter: 9 inches; 23cm An armorial dinner plate very ornately decorated in rich famille rose enamels in rococo style, the central coat of arms surrounded by elaborate gilt scroll and shell framing and rouge de fer and white mantling, with two horses above a waterfall, all within a scalloped frame, the rim border having sprays of European flowers and four panels with monograms and crests. This is the most famous of all the Chinese Export Armorial services. The whole design is almost overpowering and has not a trace of Chinese influence. The original artwork is believed to have been painted by Arthur Devis Sr. (1711-87) and still survives. The arms are for Leake Okeover Esq of Okeover near Ashbourn, Derbyshire. Properly they are, on the dexter half, clockwise from top left: Okeover quartering Byrmingham, Pettus, and Leake impaling, on the sinister half, Nichol. The crest above the arms is an oak tree on a green mound and the rim crest is a dragon on a ducal coronet, while the monogram is LMO. The service was ordered by Leake Okeover in about 1738 and two deliveries were made: in 1740 (70 plates and 30 dishes) by Ralph Congreve, costing ÂŁ99 11s 10d; and in 1743 from Joseph Congreve, commander of the ship Prislowe, a further 50 plates and four large dishes. The cost of roughly ÂŁ1 per piece was very high and much more than usual for armorial services, reflecting the high detail and craftsmanship. In armorial porcelain this service has never been equalled for quality. Only plates and large dishes are known. Leake Okeover was the son of Thomas Okeover and Catherine Leake and was born in 1702. He married in 1730 Mary, daughter of John Nichol but died without heir in 1765, a year after his wife. He moved to the Tudor House at Okeover after his marriage and in 1747 built an extensive new house there. His ancestral estates at Okeover, first recorded in the possession of Ormas Acover in 1100, are still in the family having passed through cousins. Much of this service was sold in 1975 by Sir Ian Walker-Okeover Bt.
Leake Okeover (1702-1765)
Okeover Hall 1686 (detail)
Leake Okeover and Mary Nichol in profile by Joseph Wilton, 1766 References: Howard 1974, frontispiece and p398; Howard 1994, p80, No 63; Howard & Ayers 1978, p413-5; Howard 1997, p57, including illustration of the original design; Gordon 1979, p33, No13; examples can be found in the Victoria and Albert Museum, London; The British Museum; The Peabody Essex Museum, Salem and the New Orleans Museum of Fine Art.
49 Coffee Pot & Cover Qianlong period circa 1745 English Market Height: 12Â˝ inches; 32cm A Chinese armorial porcelain ooffee pot and cover of light house form, decorated in famille rose with the arms of Clifford of Chudleigh, the rim with gilt floral border and sprays of flowers scattered on the body. The arms are for Hugh Clifford, 4th Baron Clifford of Chudleigh (1726-1783). The crest of a wyvern is here correctly shown arising from a ducal coronet. The arms bear a crescent for difference as this line was decended from a second son of the family, Sir Lewis Clifford, KG, who was Ambassador for France during the reign of Richard II. The first baron was Thomas, raised to the peerage in 1672. Hugh Clifford was son of Hugh, 3rd Baron Clifford and Elizabeth Blount of Blagden. He was married in 1749 to Lady Anne Lee, daughter of the Earl of Lichfield and had several children among whom two of his sons succeeded him, Hugh as 5th Baron and Charles as 6th Baron. Charles (b1759) married Eleanor Mary, daughter of Lord Arundell of Wardour and probably ordered a later Chinese service with these arms circa 1795 (see Howard 2003, p415). Several services with these arms are known and described in Howard 1974 and 2003. This matches one in Volume I, page 299, style G3. Kroes 2007 lists nine services, seven with the English versions of the arms as here and two with the Dutch branch, which has a star either side of the crescent. The family was Roman Catholic which was still an impediment to holding high office in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Thomas, 1st Baron Clifford, had been forced to resign as Lord High Treasurer in 1673 as he was unable to sign the Test Act. The Blount and Arundell of Wardour families were also significant Roman Catholics and the Clifford genealogy is lined with such families: Stourton, Towneley, Petre, Tichborne. References: Howard 1974 Vol I, p298, 299 (this service), 306, 369, 479, 814 and Vol II (2003) p415, 722; Cracrofts Peerage online (www.cracroftspeerage.co.uk); Kroes 2007, p643, Appendix 1A - a list of the nine different Clifford Chinese armorials, and versions by Loosdrecht porcelain and Samson of Paris, as well as a 1735 Chinese painted enamel on copper tray with these arms. Clifford 6 in this list, p233, No 144 is this service here.
When you are courting a nice girl an hour seems like a second. When you sit on a redhot cinder a second seems like an hour. That's relativity. Albert Einstein
50 Soup Plate Qianlong period circa 1750 English Market Diameter: 9 inches; 23cm A Chinese export porcelain soup plate decorated en grisaille and gilt with a central semi-erotic scene of Europeans, with flesh tones in iron red, the rim with rococo border. Only a few examples of this subject are recorded and all seem to be soup plates so it was possible that only a single set of such plates was ordered as a dessert service. The print source for this subject is as yet undiscovered but seems to derive from works in the style of Adrian van Ostade and others. The scene is quite explicit for this type - which are usually a little more discreet. The woman is raising her skirt to reveal a shapely ankle to a louche young man draped over his chair and smoking a long pipe, with two enthusiatic onlookers and a dog in the foreground. References: Shimizu & Chabanne 2003, p211, No 162, an identical soup plate; HervouĂŤt & Bruneau 1986, No 4,55, another.
Nothing is more hopeless than a scheme of merriment. Samuel Johnson, in The Idler, No 58, (1759)
51 Dinner Plate Qianlong period circa 1755 Dutch Market Diameter: 9 inches 23cm A rare Chinese export porcelain dinner plate with a central scene of ships in a harbour with mountains and a town in the background, painted en grisaille, the flags highlighted in colour, the rim with a simple du Paquier style border. The central scene shows Table Mountain viewed looking south from the bay, with two ships flying the Dutch flag. There are some features of the settlement: at the back is a church, probably the Groote Kerk (1704) but the other buildings cannot be identified. To the left is the gibbet and the jetty protruding into the bay. The mountains shown are, from left to right, Devil's Peak, Table Mountain with a flat top and Lion's Head flying the Dutch Flag. Table Mountain was named in 1503 by Antonio de Saldanha, who was the first European to climb it. The earliest pictures are from 1660 by Jan de Vingboon but the settlement was small until it grew in the 1670s and further, with an influx of Huguenot refugees, in 1686. In 1714-1724 several outposts were built to prevent raids from the Hottentots, one of which can be seen between Lion's head and Table Mountain. The Cape of Good Hope in South Africa was an important stopping off place for ships travelling from Europe to Canton as it was about half way. In particular the ships of the VOC would try to stop off both ways, as this was a Dutch colony for much of the eighteenth century, but in 1794 the VOC went bankrupt and in 1795 the English seized the Cape in what was known as the Capitulation of Rustemberg. Plates with this scene are known in several versions from about 1740. The view was a popular one and reproduced in various publications including The London Magazine of 1754. References: JĂśrg 1997, p293, cat 342, a dinner plate; HervouĂŤt & Bruneau 1986, p39, No 2.5 a plate identical to this and Nos 2.5 & 2.7-10 various other versions of the view; Howard 1997, p33, Cat 22, famille rose saucer; Brawer 1992, No 3, a teapot, famille rose; Le Corbeiller 1974, p84, a plate; Scheurleer 1974, fig 242, a plate; Cohen & Cohen 2002, No 34, a plate.
from the London Magazine 1754 (this is the same year that another London Magazine image was also copied on export porcelain, showing Elizabeth Canning and Mary Squires. Also the masthead image of London from this Magazine, originally drawn by John Pine in 1732 for the first edition, was also used on porcelain in the border panels for the Lee of Coton armorial service)
52 Dinner Plate Qianlong period circa 1770 Dutch Market Diameter: 9 inches; 23cm A Chinese export porcelain dinner plate with a famille rose central scene of buildings at a waterfront, the rim with scattered flowers. The floral rim here is the same as two plates with designs after Johann Esaias Nilson prints, dated circa 1769, suggesting that this was made slightly later than the dates given in most sources for this design. As well as dinner plates, it is known on teawares and on one teaservice that also includes a pair of putti supporting a monogrammed cartouche. The scene is of the Nieuwe Stadsherberg on the waterfront of the River Ij in Amsterdam. This was an Inn where sailors could stay before departure on their voyages. It was built in 1662 and demolished in 1872. The precise print source for this has not been found - and it may have been done from a drawing or watercolour taken to China, derived from a print or drawn from life before a voyage. The orientation of the buildings has caused some confusion - it is a large block with two sides facing the water and this shows one side. Many of the prints show the other side which has a similar foreground (see Nooms print right). Additionally the reversing of the image caused by the copying and re-engraving of images means that mirror print versions exist. The view published by Pierre Fouquet in 1768 (see right) seems to be reversed but the elements are all there. The plate itself is correct. Other prints have similar boats at the front and the ‘dolphin’ (timber pyramid on the far left of the plate).
engraving by Reinier Nooms (Zeeman) published by Dancker Danckerts circa 1665 (Rijksmuseum, RP-P-OB-20.596)
References: Scheurleer 1974, No 243, a plate; Scheurleer May 1968, Antiek, pp484-6; Le Corbeiller 1974, p108, No 45; Howard 1994, p100; Howard & Ayers 1978, Vol 1, p193; Beurdeley p190, cat 173; Hervouët & Bruneau 1986, p13, No 1.3; Palmer 1976, p95; Litzenburg 2003, p152, No 143; Jörg 1989, No 37. engraved by C. Philips Jacobsz, 1768, after a drawing by J de Vlaming, published by P Fouquet Jr, Amsterdam (Rijksmuseum RP-P-1905-576-2, detail)
53 Dinner Plate Qianlong period circa 1750 European Market Diameter: 9 inches; 23cm A rare Chinese export porcelain dinner plate decorated with a European subject scene in bright famille rose, the rim with a blue scrolling foliage border. This scene shows Earth by Francesco Albani (1578-1660) one of a series of the four elements, painted between 1625-8 for the Cardinal of Savoy, later King of Sardinia, and which are now in the Galleria Sabauda, Turin. Cybele is seated in her chariot surrounded by personifications of three of the Seasons (Flora as Spring; Ceres as Summer and Bacchus as Autumn) but harsh Winter is absent as Albani intended to flatter the Cardinal’s sunny disposition. A copy attributed to Poussin is in the Galleria d’Arte Bodda, Turin. All four designs are known on Chinese plates and teawares, their tondo format fitting very well. There appear to be two orders of the plates, one with a blue border like this and the other with a gilt foliage rim border. There are also differences in the placement of the composition within the circle, suggesting a different workshop or set of painters for each order. The series was engraved by many different artists including: -Étienne Baudet (1636-1711) circa 1695, ‘wrong’ orientation for the porcelain but the same as the original paintings; -Jacques Chereau (1688-1776) circa 1725, ‘right’ orientation; -Nicolas IV de Larmessin IV (1684-1755) circa 1720, ‘right’ orientation; -Antoine Hérisset (1685-1769); -Nicolas Dauphin de Beauvais (1687-1783) ‘right’ orientation -later engravers including Francesco Barolozzi circa 1796. The series by Chereau, Larmessin or de Beauvais could have been the ones taken to China but it is not clear which was used. Other prints by Chereau and Larmessin are known on export porcelain.
engraving by Etienne Baudet after Francesco Albani
References: Mezin 2002, p86-9, Nos 67-70, four plates with each of the scenes and illustration of a set of engravings by Nicolas (IV) de Larmessin (1684-1755); Williamson 1970, plate XXXIX, four plates including ‘Earth’ with gilt rim border and plate XXIV a teapot with this design; Howard 1994, p111; Beurdeley 1962, p179; Hervouët & Bruneau 1986, p318-9; Jörg 1989, p174-5; Le Corbeiller 1974, p64-5’ Sargent 2012, p297; Palmer 1976, p71; Howard & Ayers 1978, p323; Gordon1984, No 46; Puglisi, Catherine R. 1999, Franceso Albani, p144, Cat 60, the series, and note of two further engravers: A. Paquier & C. Ferreri; Scheurleer 1974, No 232, a plate; Pinto de Matos 2011, Vol 2, p228, No 320, a plate and illustration of the de Beauvais print version.
engraving by Jacques Chereau after Francesco Albani
54 Pair of Dinner Plates Qianlong period circa 1750 European Market Diameter: 9 inches; 23cm A pair of Chinese export porcelain dinner plates decorated en grisaille with a scene of European figures. The scene is Les Oies de Frère Philippe, engraved by Nicolas de Larmessin IV after a painting by Nicolas Lancret that is now in the Metropolitan Museum, New York. The story is from Jean de la Fontaine’s Contes et Nouvelles, and is inspired by one from Boccacio’s Decameron. An innocent young man spies some beautiful girls and asks Br Phillip what they are. To prevent the youth succumbing to temptation the monk replies that they are only geese. This was a popular subject on Chinese export porcelain mostly on teawares but a few plates are also known in famille rose. It was produced for about twenty years and some later pieces are quite crudely drawn. It is here executed in high quality suggesting these are from an early order - it is known with several different borders. Its popularity may be a consequence of its echoes of the Dame au Parasol pattern from the Pronk workshop. Around 1730, a collection of engraved illustrations for La Fontaine’s Contes using paintings by a number of artists including Boucher, Le Mesle, Vleughels, Pater, Eisen, Lorrain and Lancret were published. Known as Le Suite de Larmessin after the principal engraver, these prints were initially sold as a print collection and then published in book form along with Fontaine’s text. Six of the prints from the Suite are reproduced on Chinese export porcelain, including this one. The others are: Le Villageois Qui Cherche Son Veau, after a painting by Nicolas Vleughels; La Servant Justifiée, also after Lancret; Le Cuvier after P. Le Mesle; Le Baiser Rendu and Le Baiser Donné, both engraved by Pierre Filloeul after Jean Baptiste Pater. Most are reversed, suggesting that the prints taken to China were re-engraved copies of the Larmessin prints.
If I had to live my life again, I'd make the same mistakes, only sooner. Tallulah Bankhead
References: Hervouët & Bruneau 1986, p199, Nos 9.13-15; Arapova 2003, a plate in purple and grisaille; Cohen & Cohen 2015, p90, No 58, a dinner plate with this design in famille rose now in the Metropolitan Museum, New York; Shimizu & Chabanne 2003, p211, No 163, grisaille plate; Pinto de Matos 2011, Vol 2, p244, No 329, grisaille plate; Brawer 1992, p110, Cat 83, a plate.
Les Oies de Frère Phillippe engraved by Nicolas Larmessin IV after Nicolas Lancret
55 Teapot, Cover & Stand Qianlong period circa 1750-60 English Market Length: 5½ inches; 14cm A Chinese export porcelain teapot, cover and stand decorated en grisaille and gilt with a European subject scene of a couple fishing, the rim with a rococo border. This design was quite popular in the eighteenth century and is known on teawares and some plates. The design is The Element of Water by Jacopo Amigoni (1682-1752) a Neapolitan artist who worked in England between 1729 and 1739. It is from a series of the Four Elements but none of the other three are known en grisaille on porcelain, though there is a vase in the British Museum (No 1963,0422.7) that has Air from this series painted in famille rose. However the reverse of that vase has Summer, by Amigoni, from a series of the Four seasons. Both those images refer to birds. The Elements were also engraved by John Simon and then those were re-engraved by Georg Leopold Hertel, reversing the design to the same orientation as the porcelain here, suggesting that the Hertel prints were the sources taken to China. This scene is a good example of the coded eroticism implicit in many of the pastoral scenes of the eighteenth century. Their symbolism would have been clear to a discerning eye of the period and well understood by collectors of this porcelain. The position of the fish in the man’s hands is strongly suggestive!
References: a teabowl and saucer is in the Victoria & Albert Museum, London, No CIRC.140&A1963; Krahl & HarrisonHall 1994 p162, plate 69 the vase from the British Museum; Hervouët & Bruneau 1986, p65, No 3.6, another teapot; Scheurleer 1974, No 291, a saucer.
The Element of Water, Jacopo Amigoni (1682-1752) engraved by John Simon circa 1730-42
The Element of Water, Jacopo Amigoni (1682-1752) re-engraved by Georg Leopold Hertel circa 1750-60
56 Dinner Plate Qianlong period circa 1745 European Market Diameter: 9 inches; 23cm A Chinese export porcelain dinner plate, decorated in bright famille rose enamels with a European subject scene of musicians, the rim with a colourful rococo border. The print source for this scene has yet to be identified. It is in the style of Watteau or Lancret, with a seated lute player next to a barrel, the woman with a triangle and another man making advances on her, holding a pair of castanets. Up to about 1800 the triangle often had a series of jingling rings on it which are shown here in the lady’s hand (see tapestry illustration for the next item in this catalogue). The barrel is curiously placed and is reminiscent of illustrations for one of the Contes by La Fontaine, Le Cuvier, that is also known on export porcelain. Such a scene is part of the tradition of fêtes galantes which were popularised by Watteau and others at the beginning of the 18th century. These scenes had a variety of people in outdoor settings reading, playing music or having a picnic. They were a carefully coded system of pastoral semi-erotic activities that were understood by the eighteenth century eye. References: Hervouët & Bruneau (1986) p188, No 8.15 a plate; Howard 1994, p88, No 75, a plate; Veiga 1989, p167, a plate; Sargent 2014, p226, No82, three examples in the Conde Collection.
Those are my principles, and if you don't like them... well, I have others. Groucho Marx
57 Pair of Dinner Plates Qianlong period circa 1740 Portuguese Market Diameter: 9 inches; 23cm A fine pair of famille rose dinner plates with a central scene of a European couple seated on a terrace, with a parrot on a swing between them, the scene framed by an elaborate rococo cartouche, the rim with four landscape panels in puce enamel reserved on a floral bianca-soprabianca ground. This rare scene is of a coded erotic nature, the man is playing a clarinet style instrument and the woman seems to be singing. The bird on a swing symbolises the flexible nature of virtue in such circumstances. A parrot, with exotic gaudy colouring, was often associated with courtesans. Scenes such as this were popular in the eighteenth century and many variants are known on Chinese export porcelain. This scene has also been recorded on one tea and coffee service with a monogramme replacing the parrot and is also known en grisaille and en camaieu violine. This may have been inspired by elements of designs for a set of six of Beauvais ‘grotesques’ tapestries by Jean-Baptiste Monnoyer (1636-1699) known as the ‘Berain Grotesques’ because of the influence of Jean Berain (1740-1711) - or by other designs made at Beauvais (see detail).
detail of The Offering to Bacchus, from the ‘Berian Grotesques’, Beauvais tapestry design by JB Monnoyer.
References: Cohen & Cohen 2000, cover item a coffee pot from the service with a monogramme; Hervouët & Bruneau 1986, p185, No 8.8 a dinner plate of this type; Shimizu & Chabanne 2003, 221, No 174, a plate; Krahl & Harrison-Hall 1994, pl 67; Lunsingh Scheurleer1966, back cover image; Howard 1994, pl 203, teabowl and saucer.
detail of Grotesques des Musiciens, Beavuais tapestry design by JB Monnoyer. (the lady on the right is playing a triangle with ‘jingling rings’ as in the previous item in this catalogue!)
Elephants in China In the Neolithic period four thousand years ago, elephants were found right across China, even in the area around what is now
Large Dinner Plate Qianlong period circa 1770 Anglo-Indian Market Diameter: 10¾ inches; 27.5cm A Chinese export porcelain dish painted in famille rose with an elephant and rider, the rim with biancasopra-bianca border and gilt spearhead at the outer rim. This is an item that may have been made for the European colonial market in India, where the East India ships would stop on their long journey between Western Europe and Canton. This market grew as the colonies in India became more established and settled by wealthy European administrators. These items would have been supplied by the private traders on the ships, most likely, in this case, of the English East India Company. References: Beurdeley 1962, p167, cat 81, a tureen and cover from this service is illustrated.
Beijing, but by the Shang period they had disappeared north of the Yangtze River. By the Ming they were scarce in China, though in the twentieth century a small population of about 200 in Hunan Province in southwest China was rediscovered and is now protected in Xishuangbanna Reserve. The Chinese animals are a subspecies of the Asian Elephant, Elephas maximus indicus. This decline was described favourably by Mencius (372-289 BCE), who writes that ‘The Duke of Zhou drove the tigers, leopards, rhinoceroses and elephants far away and the world was greatly delighted’. In reality, their decline was from three major pressures: biological factors such as loss of suitable habitat and a slow reproductive rate; competition with an increasing agrarian culture in China that regarded elephants as pests; and their being a valuable resource. Zichan, a Zhou statesman, wrote in 548 BCE: ‘Elephants have tusks that are the cause of their deaths.’ Their ivory was much prized, though some were used as beasts of burden in agriculture and they were significant as a military asset up to the Ming period. Their trunks were also eaten as a delicacy, with one Tang writer commenting that they were “fatty and crisp… well suited to being roasted.” In 1547, during the Jiajing reign of the Ming, the writer Li Wenfeng described the persecution of elephants that had been attacking local crops in the Dalian Mountain area. The animals were herded together into a prepared wooden compound and ‘arrows were shot and spears were hurled….Then the villagers set fire to the area.’ In Qing China there were no known native elephants; those that were used domestically were almost always from outside China and controlled by foreigners, usually Indians as on this dish. The Chinese view of elephants had always been mixed with foreign cultures, however, because of the importance of the elephant in Buddhism; the word ‘elephant' occurs nearly 25,000 times in the Buddhist cannon, and the miraculous pregnancy that led to the birth of the historical Buddha involved a white elephant coming out of the sky and entering into his mother's left side. Because of their physical strength, elephants symbolise mental strength and determination: a disciple begins as a grey elephant, but as he progresses towards spiritual enlightenment the elephant turns white. They are also the ‘support’ of Buddhism, often shown carrying vases or pagodas. Buddhist depictions of elephants often have shell ears and an exaggeratedly wrinkled skin, as can be seen in many of the porcelain representations. Xie Zhaozhe, writing in the late Ming, commented on them in his Fivefold Miscellany (1608): ‘Although these beasts are bulky and awkward in nature and do not have an elegant shape, they nonetheless possess uncanny intelligence. Thus it is that many humans are not the equals of animals.’ Apart from humans, elephants are the only species that produces tears when unhappy. Elephants were also rare and popular in Europe; the naturalist René de Réaumur sent one to Paris in 1755, but his ship was captured by the English and the elephant, expecting to arrive in Paris, disembarked instead in Portsmouth, where it promptly died, presumably of disappointment. It was stuffed and later returned to the French, finally arriving in Paris somewhat moth-eaten. Buffon wrote in his Natural History (1749–1789) that the elephant was powerful,
courageous, prudent, moderate even in the strongest passions, and constant in love; it remembers favours as well as injuries and is modest, never mating in front of witnesses.
59 Mug Qianlong period circa 1750 English Market Height: 6¼ inches: 16cm A Chinese export porcelain mug painted in famille rose with a medallion portrait of the Duke of Cumberland to commemorate the victory at the Battle of Culloden, the rim with gilt spearhead border. The shape is following a standard Georgian silver tankard. It would have been used to toast the success of Cumberland in defeating the Jacobites. Two versions of the portrait of the Duke of Cumberland are known on porcelain, usually on mugs and a few small bowls, that have a battle scene on the reverse. The portrait on the bowls is reversed. Prince William Augustus, Duke of Cumberland (1721-1765) was the youngest son of George II. He led the British Army against the Jacobite uprising of 1745 and defeated them at Culloden on 16 April 1646. His orders to give no quarter to surviving rebels earned him the nickname ‘Butcher Cumberland’ among his Tory opponents, though he was known among the Whigs as ‘Sweet William’. In the years following Culloden various items of Chinese export porcelain were ordered with images of Jacobite sympathy or condemnation - these Cumberland portrait pieces are clearly the latter.
from the London Magazine, 1747
References: the British Museum has a mug (Franks.774.+) and another one with a portrait of Charles I (Franks.836.+); Beurdeley 1962, cat 150 a mug like this and a second with a portrait of Charles Edward Stuart, the Young Pretender (and on the opposing side to Cumberland).
engraving by John Faber, circa 1750, after portrait by Thomas Hudson circa 1746-7. This image was much reproduced at the time.
60 Two Chinese Glass Paintings Qianlong period circa 1785 English Market Length: 14 inches; 36cm Two Chinese reverse glass paintings of English scenes, in oval format, one showing a group of musicians with a dog in the foreground, the other with a young man on a horse being tearfully bid farewell by several ladies; in modern gilt wood frames. These are very fine examples of this type, well painted and faithfully copying two prints after paintings by Sir Henry William Bunbury, 7th baronet, (1750-1811). One shows a group of musicians and is called The Song. It was a stipple etching by Francesco Bartolozzi (1727-1815) and published by William Dickinson, July 10th 1782. It is one of a pair dedicated to Georgiana Cavendish, Duchess of Devonshire, the other being The Dance. The other is an illustration for Lawrence Sterne’s last novel A Sentimental Journey Through France and Italy (1768), the engraving by Thomas Watson and also published by William Dickinson, May 28th 1781. The print is inscribed in English and French: “La Fleur kissed their Hands round & round again, and thrice he wiped his Eyes, and thrice he promised He would bring them all Pardons from Rome”. Sterne’s Sentimental Journey was a novel based on Sterne’s own travels in 1765 and framed as an answer to Tobias Smollett’s rather jaundiced Travels Through France and Italy of 1766, and Smollet appears in the later novel as the character Smelfungus. The novel relates the travels of the Reverend Mr Yorick, starting in Calais. In Montreuil he is persuaded to hire a servant and finds a local youth La
Fleur, who is noted for little other than his conquests of the women of the town. The scene here shows his tearful parting from his admirers before leaving with his master on their journey towards Italy. This scene was published in some early editions of the book, entitled The Departure of La Fleur from Montreuil. That both these images were published by William Dickinson suggests he might have been responsible for the order from China. References: Roche, Karen Marie (2008) Picturing an Englishman: The Art of Sir Henry William Bunbury, 1770-1787 (thesis for DPhil in English, University of Exeter).
The Departure of La Fleur from Montreuil
61 Pair of Spaniels Qianlong period circa 1760 English Market Height: 7 inches; 18cm Provenance: James E Sowell Collection A pair of seated porcelain spaniels, painted with brown fur, the collar in red with a gilt bell, the eyes and claws detailed in black. These spaniels were a popular model for the private traders. Based on the King Charles Spaniel, these appear similar to the Blenheim type, which were bred by the Duke of Marlborough, though they lack the classic lozenge on the forehead called the 'Blenheim spot'. The original King Charles spaniels were toy dogs that achieved great popularity with the Stuarts in England, having been produced by interbreeding a Portuguese type originally imported from Japan (and inaccurately called 'Spanish' dogs). They appear in many pictures by van Dyke and Lely, among others, and the porcelain models of these dogs shown here are of that type, with a longer nose than modern examples. King Charles II was reputedly always followed around by several of these dogs and he issued a decree that this breed was to be welcomed in all places, including the Houses of Parliament, an order that still applies today. The fashion for such spaniels would have been encouraged by the publication in 1751 of the novel The History of Pompey the Little by Francis Coventry (1725-54), a picaresque tale of 18th century society. The hero is a lapdog who moves through English society exchanged from owner to owner, all mercilessly satirised and some of them recognisable. The dog appears in the fronstispiece to the early editions.
He painted a tiger, but it turned out a dog. Chinese proverb
References: Veiga et al 1989, p107, a single with green collar; Cohen & Cohen 2003, p56, a pair; Sargent 1991, p186, a pair with orange fur; Buerdeley 1962, p172, a single in brown.
frontispiece to The History of Pompey the Little (1751) by Francis Coventry
62 Pair of Figure Groups Qianlong period circa 1740 English Market Height: 8Â˝ inches; 21.5cm Provenance: James E Sowell Collection A pair of seated Chinese ladies, each holding a spaniel and wearing a green coat with dragon roundels, a pink belt, and red pantaloons, their hair in blue turbans, a rock with a phoenix beside them; on a flat base enamelled in yellow-brown. This is a rare pair of figures that would have appealed to the European taste for chinoiserie. Similar groups of Chinese figures modelled in European factories such as those at Meissen and Chantilly have been recorded. Those may have been inspired by this group, but it is likely that the inspiration passed both ways depending on the taste and demand of the market at the time, though they were expensive to make and never became plentiful. Variations are known with parrots or small children instead of dogs, and other groups of standing figures with deer and vases are recorded. The image of a lady with a spaniel was a European sentimental scene. The phoenix, fenghuang, is a Chinese mythological bird. This one is erroneously described as a peacock in other sources. Its head has an orange comb and wattle (like a chicken) and a back-pointing crest; these and the three tail feathers (like a pheasant) and the orange feathers on its back (like a Mandarin duck) are all features of the phoenix. The fenghuang was the Empress of Birds in Chinese mythology, honoured by the other birds. It signifies beauty, grace, virtue, and the unity of yin and yang. It adds an authentic feminine intimacy to this Chinese scene. References: Others of this type can be found in Sargent 1991, p124, a pair, with detailed discussion; Howard 1994, p254, a single; Cohen & Cohen 1999, p39, a single; Sharpe 2002, p209, a pair including the Cohen & Cohen example; Sotheby's London, 22 June 1970, lot 154, a pair; Sotheby's Monaco, 27 June 1984, a pair holding parrots and without phoenix or rocks beside them; 18 June 1988, lot 1692, a pair holding boys, without rocks; Christie's New York, 24 Jan 2005, lot 97, standing lady holding a sconce with a similar phoenix beside her; Bonham's London, 6 June 2003, lot 263, a mirror pair of the standing lady with sconce and phoenix; Cohen & Motley 2008, p100, No 5.2 this pair; Cohen & Cohen 2015, p46, No 33, a pair of standing maidens with deer.
When I eventually met Mr Right I had no idea that his first name was Always. Rita Rudner
63 Pair of Hawks Qianlong period circa 1750 European Market Height: 10½ inches; 27cm A fine pair of hawks modelled affronté seated on rocks, finely enamelled in sepia and gold with green irises, gold beaks, and yellow legs, the pierced rockwork enamelled in blue and pink. These are very finely modelled with an intelligent, piercing stare and with detailed painting to the plumage. Hawks were very popular in China. Small hawks were widely used for hunting winged game, especially wildfowl. Marco Polo relates that Qubilai travelled with ‘quite five hundred’ trained birds of prey and that they had special feeding stations for these animals when travelling (haiqing zhan). Less convincingly, Sir John Mandeville, a fourteenth-century 'English traveller' (his account is semi-fictional but written using contemporary sources), wrote that the Great Qan of China had 150,000 falconers. The most prized species were the 'east-of-thesea greys' (haidong qing) , the gyrfalcon (Falco rusticolus), which had populations on the North Atlantic coast and the Pacific, both of which were sources of birds for the Chinese court. The Ming Yongle emperor (r.1503–1525) presented seven hawks to Shah Rukh of Persia, declaring in 1419 that the hawks were all flown by his own hand and were not native to China, having been brought as tribute from the ‘shores of the sea’. The most important were white gyrfalcons, symbolising a ruler's virtue and legitimacy. In his masterpiece of 1724, Guiseppe Castiglione painted one for the Yongzheng emperor, adding pine trees and lingzhi to symbolise longevity. Larger hawks and eagles were called ying, which is a homophone for 'heroic'. Thus, a hawk on rock is a symbol of heroism standing fast against an iniquitous world. Hawks' tails were often used in Chinese medicine as a curative charm to be rubbed on children with smallpox.
References: Howard 1994, p264, No 317, a single hawk; Howard 1997, p136, No 174, a small bright pair, 7 ½ inches high; Sargent 1991, p146, No 67, an eagle, 21 inches high; p150, No 68, a larger brown and red pair, 15 inches high; Antunes 1999, pp92 & 93, two single hawks in famille rose; Sotheby's London, 9 June 2004, lot 112, a good pair formerly in the collections of Miran Eknayan and Jacqueline Delubac; Bonham's London, 11 June 2003, lot 264, a pair formerly in the Leverhulme Collection.
I caught this morning morning's minion, kingdom of daylight's dauphin, dapple-dawn-drawn Falcon Gerard Manley Hopkins (1844-89)
64 Pair of Boys Yongzheng/Qianlong period circa 1735 European Market Height: 15 inches; 38.2cm Provenance: The James E Sowell Collection A pair of porcelain figures modelled as laughing boys carrying sconces decorated with lotus, enamelled in famille rose. Pairs of laughing boys carrying pots of lotus are known as hehe erxian or the Twin Immortals of Harmony. They are the patron deities of Chinese merchants, particularly of Chinese potters, and in paintings they often accompany Cai Shen, the God of Wealth. Boys were always strongly favoured in Chinese culture, and these have special protective amulets or gilded lockets around their necks to ward off evil spirits, and their bracelets, which were traditionally worn by boys under sixteen years old, are made from the beaten iron nails of old coffins,. Pairs of these figures are recorded mainly in famille verte enamels and occasionally in blue and white, but such large famille rose examples are rare. These are extremely fine examples.
References: Antunes 1999, p61, a pair of famille verte boys; Alves et al. 1998, p318, No 124, a pair of famille verte boys; Du Boulay 1963, p89, the figures of a boy and lady from the Lady Lever Art Gallery, also illustrated in Hobson 1925; GyllensvĂ¤rd et al. 1972, p295, No 76, a single famille rose boy very similar to these two; Howard & Ayers 1978, p579, No 600, a pair of famille verte boys; Howard 1994, p248, No 293, a pair of famille verte boys; Howard 1997, p135, No 171, a single boy in famille rose with a yellow jacket, 26 inches high, Yongzheng c. 1735 - a magnificent example; Sotheby's London, 10 May 1994, lot 210 and again 17 Nov 1999, lot 982, the same boy with yellow coat, now in the Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, Massachusetts; Christie's London, 7 Nov 1996, lot 96, a pair of boys with vases, & lot 91, a nice pair of famille rose boys; Cohen & Cohen 2006, a similar pair of famille rose boys; Sotheby's Monaco, 23 June 1986, lot 1278, a single example paired with a lady, both holding candlesticks; Bonham's London, 7 Nov 2005, lot 95, a fine pair of reclining boys in Kangxi famille verte; Sotheby's New York, 11 Oct 2005, lots 25 &26, two pairs of large
I do not know what I may appear to the world, but to myself I seem to have been only like a boy playing on the seashore, and diverting myself in now and then finding a smoother pebble or a prettier shell than ordinary, whilst the great ocean of truth lay all undiscovered before me. Isaac Newton (1643-1727)
famille verte boys; Cohen & Motley 2008, p92, No 4.7 this pair; Cohen & Cohen 2015, p42, No 31, a similar large pair of famille rose boys of a slightly later date.
I think every girl's dream is to find a bad boy at the right time, when he wants to not be bad anymore. Taylor Swift
65 Figure Group Qianlong period circa 1752 Dutch Market Height: 11Â˝ inches; 29cm A rare figure of a bearded demonslayer in a red robe, struggling with four demons, a metal sword helt aloft, the tongue articulated, on a green rock moulded base. The figure is Zhong Kui, a popular Chinese mythological figure, who guards against unwanted demons. This figure would appear to be part of a series as similar examples are known with one demon and two demons. This particular model dates to about 1752. A broken example was found in the wreck of the Geldermalsen (sunk 1752) and is now in the Groninger Museum. As a young man, Zhong Kui travelled with his friend Du Ping to take the official examinations, which were essential for success. He took top honours but was disallowed by the emperor because of his disfigured appearance. In a fit of fury, the unhappy student threw himself at the imperial gates until his head was broken; his body was taken and buried by Du Ping, who later married his younger sister. Zhong Kui's spirit descended into hell, where he became King of the Ghosts and set about vanquishing demons. In the Tang dynasty, the sick Emperor Xuanzong was repeatedly terrorised in his dreams by a demon until a fierce spirit with a sword attacked the demon and ate him. He introduced himself to the emperor as Zhong Kui, and the emperor commanded the artist Wu Daozi to paint his image. In the Song dynasty, Zhong Kui was absorbed into the Daoist pantheon. Images of Zhong Kui are popular on gates and entrances to ward off evil spirits, and are especially important for business premises selling high-value goods. He is shown with his magic sword, a fierce expression, and big beard, usually in an energetic pose.
with one demon, James E Sowell Collection, No 3.4
with two demons, James E Sowell Collection, No 3.3
References: Cohen & Cohen 2012, p46, No 28, a later example with one demon; Sotheby's New York, 18 April 1989, lot 449, a figure with one demon but facing the slayer; Sotheby's Monaco, 23 June 1985, lot 663, a similar figure with four demons; Cohen & Motley 2008, pp80-83, Nos 3.24, three figures of Zhong Kui, No 3,2 a massive example probaley made for the Imperial Court, No 3.3 a smaller example similar to this with two demons and No 3.4 another example with only one demon.
a fragment of this same model, from the wreck of the Geldermalsen (1752) showing two of the demons, the enamels having corroded away in the sea. Image courtesy of Christiaan JĂśrg
Research Updates As is often the case we find out more about our pieces after we have published them here in our catalogues. In some cases it may be many years before new information emerges about some of the pieces that we have since sold. Much of this new discovery centres on finding the print sources for the rare European subject Chinese export porcelains, a task closely resembling the proverbial needle in a haystack. The trade between Europe and China in the late 17th and 18th centuries was one of the engines that drove a spectacular flowering of the decorative arts. The rise of a wealthier merchant class across Europe and the introduction of 'oriental' designs and ideas fed a huge demand for a whole range of consumer goods, including a taste for porcelains made in China and exported to the West. Throughout the eighteenth century vast amounts of porcelain came to the West, much of it decorated in Chinese style. The trade grew in sophistication and was controlled mainly by national East India Companies. Within the main trade in tea, silks, porcelain and raw metals was the so-called 'private trade' in which the Captains and Supercargoes were allocated space on the ships for items brokered for their personal gain. This often included special commissions for porcelain to be made in China such as dinner services with coats of arms or figure groups or new styles of porcelain copying a western prototype. From within this private trade around a thousand examples of 18th century Chinese export porcelain with different hand-painted European subject designs (not including armorials) are known, and new ones continue to emerge from old collections and at auction. All are quite rare and all were derived from a European print source, though a few seem to have been modified in China. Many of the print sources are known but others are yet to be found. The scholarship in this field is piecemeal and patterns and themes have been difficult to discern. It has also suffered from a lack of cross-disciplinary investigation, even within the ceramics world. The central question is: ‘Why these?’ Of the hundreds of thousands of printed images from the 18th century why are only these ones known on porcelain? Is it random and just an expression of passing fashion or does it tell us something more about the visual language
of eighteenth century taste? The range of subjects is very broad - from topographical (a panoramic view of Stockholm harbour, grisaille) to portraits (Luther, Erasmus, grisaille) to theatrical (James Quin as Coriolanus on the stage at Covent Garden, famille rose). The huge variety means that searching for attributions is tricky and time consuming. Some new discoveries have been made and a few patterns are emerging. Establishing the precise print used can be difficult too as the lack of copyright then meant that many images were freely re-engraved many times and comparing the orientation of the porcelain image with that of the prints can be helpful. In at least one case an image is known in both orientations on the porcelain too (Neptune after Abraham Bloemaert). In some cases just one image from an illustrated series in a book is known on porcelain: Longus, Daphnis & Chloe; Cervantes, Don Quixote; Hogarth’s illustrations for Samuel Butler’s Hudibras. In other cases just a few have been used: six from the Larmessin suite illustrating La Fontaine’s Contes et Nouvelles; two from Sadeler’s Theatrum Morum, though used quite differently; two by Fridrich from Fenelon's Telemaque; two from Luyken’s Professions series; four (or five) from a Lutheran bible and three from Pomey’s, Pantheum Mythicum. The use of illustrations from Ovid is more extensive, mainly from the Le Clerc et al. illustrations for the Isaac Benserade edition of The Metamorphoses, 1676 and the Picart et al. productions for the Banier edition, 1732. There are also a few short series that were used, including the four elements after Francesco Albani, engraved several times. Most of the prints used are from the same period in which the porcelain was ordered - fresh and fashionable but some were also from much earlier sources for example three from Virgil Solis’s illustrations for Luther’s Bible, published in 1567 or two bible illustrations by Matthias Merian the Elder, circa 1625-30. It is not clear why they were used so much later. In some cases it might have been a new edition of a book - or just the whim of the collector who commissioned the piece.
Research Updates: 2001 No 17 Snuffbox (porcelain) 2002 No 31 Snuffbox (painted enamel) Qianlong period circa 1750-60 German Market Length: 4 inches; 10cm Both these snuffboxes are about the same size and have three scenes from the life of Joseph. The shape suggests that they are directly copying a European form, probably Meissen. The three scenes are taken from a series of illustrations for a Lutheran bible by Virgil Solis, a significant printmaker from Nuremberg and friend of Martin Luther. Virgil Solis (1514-1562), Biblische Figuren des Alten Testaments, 1562, Pub: Printer: David Zephelium, Johan Raschen and Sigmund Feyerabend.
Joseph taken out of the well and sold to the Ishmaelites
Joseph flees from Potiphar’s wife
References: Hervouët & Bruneau 1986, p362, No 15.58 another example.
Pharaoh recounts his dream to Joseph
2000 No 19 Snuffbox Qianlong period circa 1770 English Market Length: 3 inches; 7.5cm A very rare porcelain snuff box, the inside of the lid with an interior scene of a couple painted en grisaille. This is illustrating a scene from Thomas Asselijn's comedy Jan Claasz of de Gewaande Dienstmaagd, with Rene declaring his love for Sarotte. The poet Thomas Asselijn (1620-1701) was a French protestant from Dieppe. It is after a 1739 pastel by Cornelis Troost (1696-1750) now in the Musée des Arts Décoratifs, Paris, inv.no.D386; (see J.W. Niemeijer, Cornelis Troost, Assen, 1973, cat. 351T). Several print versions were made, two being shown here. It is interesting to see that the Chinese artist has turned the plate on top of the wardrobe into the face of a ‘peeping tom’!
print 1754, by Jan Punt, Pieter Tanjé and Peter Fouquet, Jr
detail of lid interior re-engraving circa 1760, by John Bowles and Carington Bowles
2001 No 42 Punchbowl Qianlong period circa 1750-60 French Market Height: 15¾ inches; 40cm A remarkable and very rare punchbowl with a continous scene on the outside showing the triumph of Bacchus.
This bowl is taken from a print by Pierre Brébiette (1598? - 1642), a French printmaker who worked in Rome. He produced a series of these long frieze images of bacchanales and other mythological processions. Many of the bacchanales are in the Metropolitan Museum in New York but not this example which was found with a French print dealer. References: Hervouët & Bruneau 1986, p313, No 13.88.
2011 No 11 Sconce Qianlong period circa 1740 Dutch Market Length: 12¾ inches; 32cm A porcelain wall sconce from the Pronk workshop, with a European phoenix rising from the flames. This is attributed to the Pronk workshop and may have been a design produced by Pronk himself. It has already been shown that Pronk was familiar with a wide range of print sources for his birds and insects that he borrowed from to create his designs for the VOC between 1734 and 1738. This phoenix is very close indeed to an illustration in the Theatrum Morum, 1609, by Aegidius Sadeler (1570–1629) that was a series of illustrated moral tales. Many of the illustrations were reengravings by Sadeler of an earlier set for Aesop’s Fables, 1567, by Marcus Gheeraerts. One other from this series is also known on a Chinese export teaservice. Gheeraerts also produced a short series of original bird prints that were used as a source by many later engravers including Matthaus Merian the younger for his great Natural History work with John Jonston, Theatrum Universale Omnium Animalium etc, 1657. This latter book seems to have been a source for a number of the individual birds on other known Pronk designs, some of which are derived from the Gheeraerts prints. This phoenix image was also painted by Cornelis Troost.
engr. Marcus Gheeraerts circa 1567 (Rijksmuseum, RP-P-OB-5266)
re-engraved by Aegidius Sadeler, circa 1609 (Private collection)
2014-B No 58 Punchbowl Qianlong period circa 1790 European Market Diameter: 11½ inches; 29cm An extremely rare Chinese export porcelain bowl very finely painted with scenes of foxes, chickens and a swan in rouge-de-fer, the interior with a roundel of two phoenixes (fenghuang). This late 18th century bowl has two scenes on it, one of a fox catching a rooster, watched by a hen with her chicks - and another with the fox caught in a trap with a startled swan and her cygnets nearby. This design is known as the ‘fables’ pattern as it was thought to show an illustration from Aesop’s Fables or those of La Fontaine. However the scenes don’t appear to have a narrative and there is no fable that fits this pair of events. They had been thought to be after works by Jean-Baptiste Oudry (1686-1755) because of a pair of
detail of print, circa 1770, by Gilles Demarteau after Charles Dagomer, Numbered 23 (Rijksmuseum, No RP-P-1928-177)
grisaille oils on canvas that appeared at auction in Budapest around 2001, which had been attributed as ‘after Oudry’. However the sources for this bowl have been found in two prints from a series by Gilles Demarteau (1729-1776) after designs by Charles Dagomer (died 1766). Demarteau was a pioneer of the ‘sanguine’ print technique in an orange red to imitate red chalk. Dagomer was a minor animal painter in Paris, a member of the Académie de Saint-Luc working in the 1760s, who trained Jean Baptiste Huet (1745-1811). It is interesting that the unusual use of the iron red colouring on this bowl seems to be an attempt to copy this directly from the sanguine prints.
detail of print, circa 1770, by Gilles Demarteau after Charles Dagomer, Numbered 22 (Rijksmuseum, No RP-P-1928-176)
2015 No 56 Saucer Qianlong period circa 1740 English Market Diameter: 4 inches; 10cm An unusual Chinese export porcelain polychrome saucer with a scene of a European woman sewing in a landscape setting. This well known design comes in two versions, interior and exterior, the latter shown here is a slightly later adaptation from the original, it has alwys been thought to be taken from a print probably by Bernard Picart (1673-1733) and this can now be shown to be the case. Illustrated right are two versions of this print - one from a West Country print dealer and the other is a detail from the endpapers of Boîtes en Porcelain des manufactures européennes de 18e siècle by Barbara Beaucamp-Markowsky, 1985.
two versions of the print by Bernard Picart
the Chinese porcelaingrisaille version
2001 No 43 Punchbowl Qianlong period circa 1780 English Market Diameter: 15 inches; 38cm An elaborate mandarin style punchbowl, decorated to the outside with panels of Chinese figures and landscapes, the interior with a large roundel en grisaille of ship next to a large rock.
Previously thought to show a place on the south coast of England this has now been identified as the Pierced Rock (Rocher Percé) in the Gulf of St Lawrence, Canada, taken from a print in Scenographia Americana, 1768, by P Canot after a drawing done on location by Captain Harvey Smyth. It was printed by John Bowles at 13 Cornhill, Robert Sayer, 53 Fleet St, Thomas Jeffreys at the corner of St Martins Lane in the Strand, Carington Bowles, at No 69 in St Pauls Church Yard and Henry Park, 82 Cornhill. The Scenographia was a series of 28 views of America from the St Lawrence to the West Indies, overseen by Thomas Pownall and Paul Sandby but contributed to by a range of artists. In 1534 Jacques Cartier reported three arches in the rock but one had collapsed by 1760 when Harvey Smyth visited. Another collapsed in 1845, with only one now remaining.
interior of the punchbowl, circa 16 cm across
detail of 1768 print by P Canot after Harvey Smyth from Scenographia Americana, London: John Bowles & C.
2015 No 54 Dinner Plate Qianlong period circa 1755 Dutch Market Diameter: 9 inches; 23cm A Chinese export porcelain dinner plate decorated en camaïeu rose with a central scene of a ship sailing near a town, surrounded by a snake with its tail in its mouth (ouroboros), the cavetto with gold spearhead border, the rim with flowers and foliage on various diaper grounds. The snake around the ship is an ‘ouroboros’ - a symbol widely used from ancient Egyptian times. It usually represents a duality of life and death, wet and dry, light and dark, the circle of life - and was popular among early freemasons being connected symbolically with the compass. Many men in the China trade were freemasons and the symbolic connection to the sea would also have resonated. The image is taken from a print by Johannes van den Aveelen (Amsterdam c.1655 Stockholm) a Dutch engraver who painted port scenes, working in Amsterdam c 1678. The scene is the River Ij with the Amsterdam waterfront including VOC offices in the distance. It was published by Johannes Teyler in his Opus Typochromaticum (1688-1700) which also includes a print of an elaborate Italianate fountain that is known on a Chinese blue and white dish (see Cohen & Cohen 2001, No 7, p11). Van den Aveelen later moved to Sweden to assist Erik Dalhberg on his Suecia Antiqua et Hodierna, which includes his Panorama of Stockholm of 1702, after a painting by Cornelis Vermeulen, that is also known on Chinese export porcelain. The same view was engraved by Abraham Allard circa 1720 for Le Galerie Agreable du Monde published by Pieter van de Aa, 1729, in 66 volumes.
detail of print from Opus Typochromaticum (c1690) by Johannes Teyler (this print thought to be originally by Johannes van den Aveelen)
References: Hervouët & Bruneau (1986) p37, No 2.4, another example from the Groninger Museum; Christie’s New York, January 2016, a very similar plate with identical border and colouring but a different ship in the centre.
detail of print by Abraham Allard, c1720 from Le Galerie Agreable du Monde (1729)
Objects acquired from Cohen & Cohen are now in the following museum collections: British Museum, London Bristol Museum Jeffrye Museum, London Foundling Hospital Museum, London Groniger Museum, Groeningen East India Company Museum Lorient Adrien-Dubouché National Porcelain Museum, Limoges Sèvres Ceramics Museum Peabody Essex Museum, Salem Mass. Kenton Foundation, California New Orleans Museum Of Art Virginia Museum Of Art, Richmond Va Minneapolis Museum Winterthur Museum Norton Museum of Art, Palm Beach Fl Los Angeles County Museum of Art The Tea Museum, Hong Kong Hong Kong Maritime Museum Nanchang University Museum The Mint Museum, Charlotte, North Carolina The Asian Civilisations Museum, Singapore The Musée Guimet, Paris The Metropolitan Museum, New York
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