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Plates

Category

Ceramics

Date

circa 1695 - circa 1710

Materials

Porcelain decorated with enamels and gold

Place of origin

Jingdezhen

Order this image

Collection

Shugborough Estate, Staffordshire

On show at

Not on show

NT 1270525

Summary

A partial nine-piece Chinese tableware service, porcelain, after French metalware shapes, comprising eight octagonal plates and one large octagonal serving dish with gadrooned edges (sometimes erroneously described as “pie-crust”), and painted in translucent green, red, yellow, aubergine and black enamels and gold, a palette known as ‘wucai’ (five colours) in China or ‘famille-verte’ (green family) in the West, a term used since the 1860s, depicting a female courtier in a garden playing the ‘qin’, a stringed instrument resting on a table, accompanied by a man with a fan, watched by an attendant who has prepared tea in a pavilion, the border with insects alternating with gold fish on a band with flowerheads against a seeded ground, the reverse with four groups of flowering branches in green and red enamel, China, Jingdezhen, circa 1695-1710.

Full description

A partial nine-piece Chinese tableware service, porcelain, after French metalware shapes, comprising eight octagonal plates and one large octagonal serving dish with gadrooned edges (sometimes erroneously described as “pie-crust”), and painted in translucent green, red, yellow, aubergine and black enamels and gold, a palette known as ‘wucai’ (five colours) in China or ‘famille-verte’ (green family) in the West, a term used since the 1860s, depicting a female courtier in a garden playing the ‘qin’, a stringed instrument resting on a table, accompanied by a man with a fan, watched by an attendant who has prepared tea in a pavilion, the border with insects alternating with gold fish on a band with flowerheads against a seeded ground, the reverse with four groups of flowering branches in green and red enamel, China, Jingdezhen, circa 1695-1710. This service is part of an assembled 25-piece Chinese export service. The shapes, primarily round and octagonal, have ‘gadrooned’ rims, a narrow band of complex moulding, after European metalware forms on silver and pewter, but also found on French faïence and soft-paste porcelain at Rouen or St. Cloud, and Dutch Delft. In order to finance Louis XIV’s ruinous military campaigns, sumptuary decrees were passed in 1689 and 1709, ordering courtiers to have their plate melted down. They replaced it with ceramic tablewares from Rouen of China. This provided a new demand for luxury ceramic tablewares, as it became unpatriotic to eat off precious metal. They were painted in an enamelling workshop on blanks, the octagonal wares have underglaze blue concentric rings added before glazing and firing. The decoration depicts elegant female courtiers in palace activities, tending potted plants on a terrace, playing the qin, a stringed instrument perhaps from a literary source, and elsewhere on oblong octagonal dishes there are scenes of lotus gathering. other patterns are known with birds and flowers The seeded-green borders have auspicious emblems in the cartouches. The service, with additional plates made by Miles Mason, circa 1806-13, has been at Shugborough since at least the early 19th century, when some of it was sold in the 1842 auction, as lot 37, ‘Part of a dinner service of splendid Oriental china, green and red border with Chinese figures consisting of 23 large octagon shaped dishes, 1 circular ditto and 24 plates all to correspond,’ which sold for £21.0.0, along with lot 29 ‘Six octagon shaped ornamental dishes rich flowered pattern of green, red and gold’ and lot 30 ‘six to correspond.’ It is possible that the service may have been part of the famous Spanish prize acquired at sea by Admiral Anson in 1743, belonging to a Spanish official returning home to Spain with household goods acquired in China. There was Spanish plate and coins also from the prize at Shugborough. Alternatively it may have been purchased by Anson second-hand in London, if not inherited. (Information supplied by Patricia Ferguson - March 2013).

Provenance

Possibly acquired by Commodore George Anson (1697 – 1762) in 1743.

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