Pater Gratia Oriental Art

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Chine de commande - Western Subjects 1680-1800 - Western Designers - Teyler, Johannes(1648-c.1709)


Object 2010444






Soft-paste or Steatitic Porcelain (pâte tendre)




Height 34 mm (1.33 inch), diameter of rim 62 mm (2.44 inch), diameter of footring 29 mm (1.14 inch), weight 28 grams (0.99 ounce (oz.))


Teacup on footring. Decorated in underglaze blue with a group of people on a spit of land jutting into a lake or the sea. To the left on the shore two children with outstretched hands, at the far-left rocks with trees. Around the inner rim a narrow band with honeycomb motifs. The teacup is decorated en suite.


A recent discovery shows that this composition is taken from a part of a colour print by Johannes Teyler (1648-c.1709) from his Opus Typochromaticum (1688-98), depicting The Fall of Phaëton. Two other prints from this Opus are known on Chinese export porcelain. (, REF No. 6375)


Johannes Teyler (1648–1709?), a philosopher, mathematician and military engineer – not an artist or engraver – was granted a privilege for the States of Holland and West-Frisia for printing engravings and etchings in colour in 1688. His exact working manner is not described in the privilege, but from the production of the workshop that he financed can be seen that all prints were inked à la poupée in multiple bright colours. From 1695 Amsterdam print dealers also started publishing prints in Teyler's manner. The so-called 'Teyler prints' are known to print historians and antiquarian print dealers. The production from the workshop of Johannes Teyler is estimated at over 400 unique prints. (source:The New Hollstein Dutch & Flemish Etchings, Engravings and Woodcuts Johannes Teyler and Dutch Colour Prints, (A.Stijnman (compiler) and S.Turner (editor), Sound & Vision Publishers B.V., Ouderkerk aan de Amstel, 2017))


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a colour print by Johannes Teyler (1648-c.1709) from his Opus Typochromaticum, depicting The Fall of Phaethon collectie Rijksmuseum Amsterdam 2

A colour print by Johannes Teyler (1648-c.1709) from his Opus Typochromaticum, depicting The Fall of Phaëthon (1688-98). (pictures courtesy (, REF No. 6375)


Phaëthon, the son of the Sun God Helios, had begged his father to prove his paternity to his friends, so Helios had sworn an oath on the River Styx to grant any wish that the youth wanted. Phaëthon chose to ride the famous sun chariot and despite his father’s warning that the steeds were too strong for him, the young man took the reins. His lack of control soon led to disasters when he flew too low and scorched the earth. (, REF No. 6375)

The part of the Teyler print here shows a group of River Gods in distress, who had petitioned Zeus to stop Pheëton’s uncontrolled Chariot ride because it had caused their rivers to dry up. When Zeus kills Phaëthon with a thunderbolt he falls into the River Eridanus where he is drowned. (, REF No. 6375)


Soft-paste porcelain, which is quite different from European soft-paste, originated about 1700 and became popular in the second quarter of the 18th century as part of the export assortment. Unlike ordinary porcelain, it is not translucent and often has a creamy-white appearance. The glaze is often finely crackled as the result of a difference in cooling between the glaze and the body. The latter is made of a white-firing clay, called "huashi" or "slippery stone", the use of which is documented in the reports of 1712 and 1722 by the Jesuit Père d'Entrecolles. As this clay was expensive, soft-paste pieces are usually small and thinly potted. They are also well-painted, as the body is particularly suitable for detailed drawing. Besides this "true" soft-paste, there are pieces with an ordinary porcelain body and a coating of "huashi" clay, which gives the same effect. Due to the porous nature of the fired "huashi" clay, soft paste objects are overall lighter than hard paste objects. The production for export flourished between 1725-1745 and came to a stand around 1750, twenty years later the production revived but the quality of the objects produced never reached the quality level of the previous production. Only a few Chine de commande objects are known to be made of soft paste porcelain, most famous being 'Neptune' and this mythological design formerly known as 'Castaways or slaves' or 'The wreck of the Grosvenor' design because it seemed to depict a famous incident when the Grosvenor, returning from India to London was lost off the coast of South Africa in 1782. Of the 123 survivors who were cast ashore only 18 made it to Cape town. (Oort & Kater 1982, p.155), (Jörg & Van Campen 1997, p.117), (Sargent 2012, p.304), (, REF No. 6375)


For identically decorated objects, please see:

For a similarly decorated dish, please see:

Condition: Perfect.



Lunsingh Scheurleer 1977, cat. 246

Oort & Kater 1982, p.155

Hervouët 1986, cat. 9.42

Jörg & Van Campen 1997, cat. 119

Jörg 2002/2, cat. 100

Jörg 2002/3, pp. 167-176

Sargent 2012, p.304, REF No. 6375


Price: € 499 - $ 534 - £ 458

(the $ and £ prices are approximates and depend on the € price exchange rate)


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