Pronk, Cornelis (1691-1759)
From 1700 onwards, Chinese porcelain with Western depictions became highly in demand. This so-called Chine de commande was made to order for private Western traders, which earned them a lot of money. The Dutch East India Company, (Vereenigde Oost-Indische Compagnie, VOC), which had started to actively purchase porcelain in Canton after 1728, also wanted to get in on this specific trade. In 1734, as an experiment, the Dutch East India Company board, the Heren XVII, commissioned the Amsterdam artist Cornelis Pronk (1691-1759) to design depictions for services and other porcelains. He then designed a chinoiserie, a depiction in Chinese style, featuring a Chinese lady at the waterside and a female servant holding an umbrella. These drawings with the designs, which are now known as the Parasoldames (the parasol ladies) were sent to Batavia and from there to China, where porcelain, decorated after this example, was ordered in 1736. The coloured drawn plate design has been preserved and is now part of the collection of the Rijksmuseum Amsterdam. The High Government ordered porcelain conform to these drawings in both China and Japan.
Pronk Porselein was manufactured in three versions: in Imari, overglaze enamels as well as in underglaze blue. It was very well received in the Netherlands, however production costs in China proved to be so high that sales earned a minimum profit, which soon caused the Dutch Ears India Company to cease the commissioning of this type of porcelain. Besides the Parasoldames Pronk also drew other drafts: the Vier Doktoren (the four doctors), the Prieel (the arbour) and the Handwassing (hand-washing). Chinese porcelain was manufactured to order after these drawings as well, however its production was later also ceased because it proved to be costly as well. (Source: Groninger Museum)