Pater Gratia Oriental Art

Sold Ceramics


Sold Ceramics - Sold Chinese wares over-decorated in the West 1700-1800 - Dutch over-decorated Amsterdams Bont - Imari Designs - Page 1


Object 2010805


Teacup and saucer




1730-1740, over-decorated in the Netherlands 1750-1770


Height of teacup 45 mm (1.77 inch), diameter of rim 82 mm (3.23 inch), diameter of footring 32 mm (1.26 inch)

Height of saucer 24 mm (0.94 inch), diameter of rim 131 mm (5.16 inch), diameter of footring 76 mm (2.99 inch)


Teacup and saucer on footrings, slightly everted rims. Teacup and saucer both delicately incised with a fine petal-type pattern into the porcelain. Decorated in underglaze blue with a central diaper-pattern border with reserves filled with flower heads, round the rim another diaper-pattern border with reserves filled with flower heads. Over-decorated in the Netherlands 1750-1770, with iron-red and gold with a single butterfly in a central roundel and gilded panels and borders. The teacup is decorated en suite.


The simple beauty of the incised petal-type pattern which is just visible, incised in Chinese anhua 'secret' decoration has been ignored and painted over.

In the late 19th century European decorated oriental porcelain was called 'clobbered', a word that came into the English language in the mid-19th century meaning as a noun, 'a black paste used by clobbers to fill up and conceal cracks in leather', and as a verb, 'to patch up, to cobble'. Later it was applied to old clothes meaning 'to renovate' and by the 19th century it was it was applied to porcelain. In 1900, F.Litchfield stated, 'There is a description of Chinese known as clobbered .... overpainted with ....ornament ..... sold for decorated oriental China.' It was a derogatory term meaning that the European decorator had plastered his style of decoration all over the pot with total disregard for the original which was the case in much Chinese blue-and-white over-decorated in the early 19th century and which are to blame for the poor reputation of these wares ever since. 

The sophistication of this style of Chinese decoration on ordinary everyday wares was apparently not appreciated in Europe at the time and many of the blue and white plates, bowls and teacups and saucers that were over-decorated have carved or incised anhua decoration. As it cannot be seen to clash with the European decoration I would not call it clobbered. (Espir 2005, pp. 74-75) 


The incised pattern is barely discernible to the naked eye unless the ware is held up to the light. The incised recesses have been filled with a transparent glaze to create a flat surface. The Chinese call this technique anhua (hidden decoration). The red-edged gilt decoration fashioned like petals, and the butterflies were not applied by the hand of a Chinese artist. It is an artistic addition of enamal paint, executed in the Netherlands. Complete tea services with the decoration shown here exist, parts of which one can find in several European collections, but also in the Topkapi Palave Museum in Istanbul. (Emden 2015/1, p.132, cat. 122Suebsman 2019, p.117)


Polychrome enamelled porcelains, in particular gilt-enamelled wares were much more costly when bought in China than blue-and-white or undecorated pieces. Even more expensive were porcelains made to order, for which the trader had been given the drawing or the print of a pattern by a customer to take to China, so that he could receive the finished pieces with desired decoration roughly a year later. Some traders from Amsterdam hit upon the idea to buy undecorated ware of wares with only spare blue decoration at a reasonable price and have these decorated or over-decorated in the Netherlands. Up to now, the workshops where these later European decorations were carried out have not been identified but could possibly have been faience workshops in Delft, which had skilled ceramic painters and where also the necessary kilns for firing were available. In collectors' jargon, these porcelains, decorated in Europe but probably often sold to buyers as original Chinese wares, are called Amsterdams Bont (coloured ware from Amsterdam) or clobbered ware. (Suebsman 2019, p.116)


For originally Chinese decorated objects, please see:

For an identically over-decorated teacup and saucer, please see:

 For originally Chinese over-decorated objects, please see:


Teacup: A shallow glaze chip and frit to the rim.

Saucer: Perfect.



Ottema 1943, cat. 225

Howard & Ayers 1978, vol. 1, cat. 153

Mudge 2000, cat. 184

Espir 2005, pp. 74-75

Emden 2015/1, cat. 122

Emden 2015/2, cat. 122

Suebsman 2019, cat. 55


Price: Sold.


More pictures >> 

More pictures of object 2010806, another identically shaped, sized and over-decorated, sold saucer >>