On this page you'll find my latest acquisitions, It may, however, take some time for all objects to load.
This way you can quickly browse through my recently acquired objects without having to browse through all the various categories.
After four weeks each object in 'Recent Acquisitions' will be moved to their specific category.
Latest update; February 20, 2018.
Chine de commande - Western Subjects 1680-1800 - Western Designers - Bloemaert, Abraham (1564-1651)
Height 101 mm (3.98 inch), diameter of mouthrim 32 mm (1.26 inch), diameter of footring 39 mm (1.54 inch), weight 172 grams (6.07 ounce (oz.))
Milk jug on footring, pear shaped body with handle, small triangular spout at the rim. The handle is placed opposite the spout. The original cover is missing. Decorated en camaïeu with overglaze lilac pink enamels and gold with a fisherman standing at a riverbank near two large wicker baskets and a large tree, two birds in flight and in the background three houses. Round the shoulder a border of scale work and irregular panels supported by a peacock and garlands. On the handle scroll work in gold.
The decoration on this milk jug has been taken from a drawing titled 'Un pêcheur,' (The Fisherman) by Abraham Bloemaert (1564/66-1651), a Haarlem-born painter and printmaker, who specialized in historical subjects. Originally Bloemaert's design was engraved by his son Cornelis II (ca.1603-ca.1680), but the design on this milk jug has been reversed, which points to the idea that it was based instead on a later re-engraving, possibly a wood-cut published by the Dutch engraver Cornelis J. Visscher de Jonge (1629?-1658?).(Sargent 2012, p.252)
As a child, Abraham Bloemaert (1564-1651) moved with his family from Gorinchem to Utrecht. He was apprenticed to no less than five different masters, among them his father Cornelis Bloemaert I. Having travelled to Paris and Amsterdam, in 1593 Bloemaert returned to Utrecht. There he was to remain for the rest of his life. Abraham Bloemaert acquired a name for his paintings of mythological and religious subjects. Bloemaert - a pious Catholic in the Protestant Northern Netherlands - received numerous commissions from the Catholic Church. Bloemaert’s early paintings feature the exaggerated, elongated and muscular figures of mannerist art. In the 1620s, when his career was at its height, his style began to change. Influenced by his pupils, including Gerard van Honthorst and Hendrick ter Bruggen, he painted a number of works in the Caravaggist manner.
The 'Un pêcheur' (The Fisherman) design occurs in many variations in border design, colour scheme and the way in which elements of the principal design are rendered. Other varieties show a mountainous landscape (probably a Chinese variation). (Jörg 1989/2, p.134)
A print by Cornelis J. Visscher de Jonge (1629?-58?), a Dutch engraver who based his design on a drawing by the Haarlem-born painter and printmaker Abraham Bloemaert (1564/66-1651). (Reproduced from: Chine de Commande, (D.F. Lunsingh Scheurleer, (Uitgevermaatschappij De Tijdstroom BV, Lochem 1989), p.219, Afb. 193a.)
Lunsingh Scheurleer illustrates an engraving by Cornelis J. Visscher de Jonge, which is almost identical, on the porcelain the later added mountains in the background seem to have been evolved from the trees in the original print. The scene is recorded with at least three border decorations, the earliest with a diaper rim and Meissen-style cartouches of about 1736-38, and another about five years later with this type of rim en grisaille. A Delft faience example in blue is in the Musée de la Compagnie des Indes, Lorient, France. (Gordon 1977, p.76, cat 60), (Howard & Ayers 1978, vol. 2, pp.369-370, cat. 362), (Lunsingh Scheurleer 1989, cat. 193a ), (Sargent 2012, p.252)
Chine de commande objects decorated en camaïeu in overglaze lilac pink enamels are rare. (Jörg 1989/2, p.170)
For an identically in en camaïeu overglaze lilac pink enamels decorated, sold, teapot please see:
- Sold Ceramics - Sold Chine de commande - Western Subjects 1680-1800 - Western Designers - Page 1 - Bloemaert, Abraham (1564-1651) - Object 2011935.
For early objects with the 'Un pêcheur' design with a diaper rim and Meissen-style cartouches decorated in various overglaze enamels and gold, please see:
- Chine de Commande, (D.F. Lunsingh Scheurleer, W. de Haan, Hilversum, 1966), cat. 197.
- Chinese export porcelain. Chine de Commande, (D.F. Lunsingh Scheurleer, London, 1974), English translation of the Dutch edition, Hilversum 1966, cat. 206.
- Collecting Chinese Export Porcelain, (E. Gordon, Universe Books, New York, 1977), p. 76, cat 60.
- La porcelaine des Compagnies des Indes a décor Occidental, (F. & N. Hervouët & Y. Bruneau, Flammarion - Pere Castor, Paris 1986), pp.66-67, cat. 3.8.
- Chine de Commande, (D.F. Lunsingh Scheurleer, (Uitgevermaatschappij De Tijdstroom BV, Lochem 1989), p.219, cat. 193a & b.
- Chinese Export Porcelain. Chine de Commande from the Royal Museum of Art and History in Brussels, exhibition catalogue Hong Kong Museum of Art, (C.J.A. Jörg, The Urban Council, Hong Kong, 1989), pp.134-135, cat 43.
- Treasures of Chinese Export Ceramics from the Peabody Essex Museum, (W.R. Sargent, Salem, Massachusetts, 2012), p.252, plate 127.
For early objects with the 'Un pêcheur' design with a diaper rim and Meissen-style cartouches decorated en grisaille with iron-red and gold, please see:
- Christie's pictorial history of Chinese ceramics, (A. du Boulay, Phaidon-Christie's, Oxford 1984), p.272, cat. 1.
- La porcelaine des Compagnies des Indes a décor Occidental, (F. & N. Hervouët & Y. Bruneau, Flammarion - Pere Castor, Paris 1986), pp.66-67, cat. 3.9.
- Chinese Export Porcelain. Chine de Commande from the Royal Museum of Art and History in Brussels, exhibition catalogue Hong Kong Museum of Art, (C.J.A. Jörg, The Urban Council, Hong Kong, 1989), pp.134-135, cat 44.
For other objects with the 'Un pêcheur' design, decorated en grisaille with gold, please see:
- Chine de Commande, (D.F. Lunsingh Scheurleer, W. de Haan, Hilversum, 1966), cat. 289.
- Chinese export porcelain. Chine de Commande, (D.F. Lunsingh Scheurleer, London, 1974), English translation of the Dutch edition, Hilversum 1966, cat. 298.
Interestingly the border design with the diaper rim and Meissen-style cartouches used on the objects with the 'Un pêcheur' design mentioned above match those on the so-called 'Sail maker' Chine de commande design, for an example of this dish please see:
- Treasures of Chinese Export Ceramics from the Peabody Essex Museum, (W.R. Sargent, Salem, Massachusetts, 2012), pp.250-251, plate 126.
For other objects with the 'Un pêcheur' design, decorated en camaïeu in overglaze lilac pink enamels, please see:
- Porcelaine de le Compagnie des Indes, (M. Beurdeley, Office du Livre, Fribourg, 1962), p.181, cat. 123.
- China for the West. Chinese Porcelain and other Decorative Arts for Export illustrated from the Mottahedeh Collection, (D.S. Howard & J. Ayers, Philip Wilson Publishers for Sotheby Parke Bernet Publications, London 1978), vol. 2, pp.368-370, cat. 362.
- La porcelaine des Compagnies des Indes a décor Occidental, (F. & N. Hervouët & Y. Bruneau, Flammarion - Pere Castor, Paris 1986), p.66 cat. 3.10.
- Faszination des Fremden: China - Japan - Europa, (D. Antonin & D. Suebsman, Hetjens-Museum, Deutsches Keramikmuseum Düsseldorf, 2009), pp.232-233, cat. 95.
Encre de Chine 1725-1775
Height 20 mm (0.79 inch), diameter of rim 116 mm (4.57 inch), diameter of footring 65 mm (2.56 inch), weight 53 grams (1.87 ounce (oz.))
Saucer on footring, slightly everted rim. Decorated in overglaze iron-red, gold and black enamel with a boy riding on the back of a water buffalo in a mountainous landscape with rocks and a tree. In one hand the boy is holding his hat and a stick while his other hand is reaching out with a bird perched on his fingers looking at another bird in flight. Round the rim a diaper-pattern ground with three reserves filled leavy flower heads. The reverse is undecorated.
The use of black enamel in imitation of drawings or prints was first developed at the end of the reign of the Kangxi emperor (1662-1722) and the Yongzheng reign (1723-1730). Chinese porcelains decorated in ink colour became popular in Europe around 1740, and until about 1790 continental clients continued to order them, especially for armorials, because the ink-colour process so readily duplicated the engraved bookplates supplied to the decorators as source materials. The technique may have been developed first for use on glass in the 1660s in Germany, where it was called schwarzlot. Eighteenth-century shipping records sometimes may have referenced it as pencilled ware because it was executed with a thin brush called a pencil. Albert Jacquemart dubbel it encre-de-Chine. Another name Jesuit ware was used still later due in part to the many examples of ceramics with religious motifs that incorporated this technique. En grisaille, another popular term used to refer to this technique, is inappropriate as it refers to works in various media in shades of gray and brown, and it does not convey the quality or technique evident in them. The Dutch terms were zwart geemailleerd or zwart goed (black-eneameled or black goods), and the state inventory of Johannes van Bergen van der Gijp (1713-1784) lists his porcelain as swarte kunst (black art). Works incorporating the reddish enamel known in China as zhucai (yellowish-red colour-or sepia often are grouped with ink-colour wares as well. (Sargent 2012, pp.333-334)
For similarly decorated objects, please see:
- Sold Ceramics - Sold Shipwreck Porcelains - Unidentified Shipwreck wares - Page 1 - Object 2010503.
Price: € 299 - $ 366 - £ 264
(the $ and £ prices are approximates and depend on the € price exchange rate)
Chinese wares over-decorated in the West 1700-1800 - English over-decorated Clobbered wares - Page 1
Spoon or leak tray
1730-1740, over-decorated in London England c.1755-1765, possibly by James Giles or his workshop.
Provenance: The Geoffrey Godden Reference Collection.
Height 12 mm (0.47 inch), dimensions 122 mm (4.80 inch) x 76 mm (2.99 inch), weight 78 grams (2.75 ounce oz.))
Spoon or leak tray with hexagonal sides and a partial glazed base. Decorated with a carved (ahnua) taihu (garden) rock and flowering plants growing from behind a fence in low relief and decorated in underglaze blue with on the sides with a narrow band with honeycomb motifs. Over-decorated in England c.1755-1765, with iron-red and various enamel colour with a butterfly, an insect and various scattered European flowers. The rim in overglaze (dark) brown. On the base three paper labels, a rectangular paper collectors label that reads; GOODEN REFERENCE COLLECTION, a circular paper dealers label that reads; STOCKSPRING ANTIQUES Early James Gilles 37 and another circular paper dealers label that reads; KLABER & KLABER GUARENTEED GENUINE 6/03.
A spoon or leak tray was used to protect the surface of luxurious lacquer or painted tea tables, against the influence of a hot teapot or drops running from its spout. If, in certain circles, a special tea table was not at hand it served to protect the furniture or its valuable table-cloth from tea spots. (Volker 1959)
In the eyes of some scholars and collectors of both Chinese and European porcelains, Chinese export porcelains decorated in Europe are a chinoiserie hybrid. Thanks to this prejudice, such wares have been long overlooked and frequently denigrated with the term clobbered. 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. (Espir 2005, p.75), (Sargent 2012, p.499)
The lack of documentation and the decorators' anonymity-plus, admittedly, the lesser abilities of some independent decorators-have increased mainstream collectors' distancing from these wares. A commentator referred to such pieces as 'inoffensive, at worst a ruinous clobber', and observed that 'the Dutch in particular seem to have been firmly of the opinion that tuppence coloured was better than penny plain, and they suited the action to the word'. The term over-decorated may suggest that too much decoration was used, making it an unsatisfactory term. Over-decorated, clobbered, embellished ... none of these terms readily describes these wares. Many extremely fine European decorators used Chinese porcelains as their 'canvas', however, and it is only recently, with the work of Helen Espir, that these wares and their decorators have received their due.
In England 'China painters' (as they were sometimes identified) included James Gilles (or Gilles), Sr., and one known only as Campman, both of whom were working in 1723. Between 1756 and 1775, both Giles's son James (1718-1780), who worked on porcelain and glass and Jefferyes Hammett O'Neale (1724-1801), who was associated with fable painting, were well-known London decorators associated with the Worcester factory. (Sargent 2012, pp.499-500)
Till now the earliest known documentary evidence of London 'china painters' is in the 1723 Probate Inventory of Henry Akerman, a London shopkeeper selling chinaware, glassware, stoneware and tin-glazed ware, where debts are recorded to 'Gilles China Painter' and 'Campman China painter'. Giles must be James Gilis senior, who was recorded as a 'china painter' of St Giles in the Fields in 1729 when his eldest son Abraham was apprenticed to Philip Margas, another well-known 'chinaman'. Giles' brother in law was Francis bacon also of St Giles in the Fields, who was described in his will in 1737 as 'china painter', who authenticated Giles' handwriting in his Will, stating that he had 'worked with him (Giles) as a servant in his of business for some years'.... 'and to the time of his death' in 1741, was probably the son of Francis Bacon and nephew of Gilis. Giles' younger son James (1718-1780) was to have a distinguished career as a porcelain retailer and decorator from the 1750s to the 1770s. (Espir 2005, pp.213-215)
Geoffrey Godden was an author, historian, collector and dealer; but to the public he was best known for his expert valuations of fine – and not-so-fine – china on BBC Television’s Antiques Roadshow.
Godden called himself a “Chinaman” – an 18th-century term for a dealer in ceramics – and over five decades created a body of reference works that has added greatly to our knowledge of the medium. He insisted, however, that ceramics should be picked up and inspected. “You have to handle and view pieces closely,” Godden said. “Possession is almost vital to understanding.”
He published some 30 books which produced a detailed survey of English porcelain makers, from Bow, Chelsea and Derby, to Lowestoft, Liverpool and Worcester. He also wrote widely on porcelain produced outside Britain.
All of his writing, he observed, aimed to “open the reader’s eyes to the pleasures that await an inquisitive collector”. So prolific was his output that his Antiques Roadshow colleague Henry Sandon nicknamed him the “Barbara Cartland of Ceramics”.
Geoffrey Arthur Godden was born on February 2, 1929 at Worthing to Leslie Godden, an antiques dealer, and his wife Molly. After leaving Worthing High School, Geoffrey joined the family antiques business, Godden of Worthing (founded in 1900 by Geoffrey’s grandfather, Arthur).
He spent part of his teenage years packing and exporting antiques to the United States to raise funds for the war effort. He also caught the collecting bug. “I just naturally began to purchase – with my modest pocket-money – broken specimens of attractive 18th-century porcelain as others of my age might have spent their allowance saving for a new bike or model train,” he recalled.
Called up for National Service in 1947, Godden served in the Hampshire Regiment at Winchester, the Royal Sussex Regiment and finally the Queen’s own Royal West Kent Regiment at Shornecliffe.
When he was demobbed, he re-joined the family firm, specialising in 18th and 19th-century English ceramics, a radical departure from the company’s focus on furniture.
Every book I and other experts take to every roadshow was written by Geoffrey Godden. John Sandon
Having been told by his father that “if you want to know about something, write a book on it”, he published his first volume, Victorian Porcelain, in 1961. His Illustrated Encyclopedia of Pottery and Porcelain (1966) followed; it was subsequently chosen by Derek Nimmo as his book on Desert Island Discs.
Godden’s first love was Lowestoft porcelain, which had been readily available and inexpensive during the 1940s. He was drawn to these wares by their honest, anglicised interpretation of Chinese ceramic designs, often painted by women and children. “There is a homely quality to English blue and white,” he noted. In 1969 he published The Illustrated Guide to Lowestoft Porcelain (revised in 1985).
Over the following decades Godden produced countless books, often focusing on individual factories, as with Minton Pottery & Porcelain of the First Period (1968); others examined decoration – Godden’s Guide to English Blue and White (2004) – and centres of production, such as Chinese Export Market Porcelain (1979). Enthusiasts refer to his 750-page Encyclopeadia of British Pottery and Porcelain Marks (1964, and still in print) as “the bible”.
When signing books Godden would add “Have Fun” or “A Trifle from Worthing”, the latter mimicking the rare “Trifle from Lowestoft” inscriptions found on some porcelains. He joked that unsigned copies of his books were much rarer, given the specialist nature of the work.
By the 1970s, Godden was appearing on the antiques quiz show Going For A Song with Arthur Negus and, in the 1990s and early 2000s, was a regular contributor to Antiques Roadshow as a member of its ceramics team.
On one roadshow Godden and John Sandon (the son of Henry Sandon and a director at Bonhams) were sharing a table when a woman unpacked a china tea set. Godden informed her that it was made in the 1870s. “No, you’re wrong”, she insisted, “it’s a hundred years older than that, can’t you check in those books the other experts are using? They must be written by real experts.” “I couldn’t help bursting out laughing,” Sandon recalled. “Every book I and other experts take to every roadshow was written by Geoffrey Godden.”
Godden lectured extensively in Britain and abroad, was president of the Northern Ceramics Society (2000-12) and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts. In 1992 he was awarded an honorary doctorate from Keele University.
Despite the lack of any formal training, Godden was a great educator. At home in Worthing he became a mentor to younger experts, giving seminars and hosting study weekends.
In his youth, Godden was a keen angler, representing Worthing Sea Anglers in national competitions. Later, he developed an interest in bowls, playing at the Worthing Bowling Club at Beach House Park. In 1988 he published his Beginner’s Guide To Bowls and would ruefully explain to ceramics audiences that this was his most popular book.
In 1964 Godden married Jean Magness, whose parents were market gardeners in Worthing and suppliers of strawberries to George VI. She predeceased him, and he is survived by their son.
Geoffrey Godden, born February 2, 1929, died May 10, 2016.
Condition: A firing flaw to the base, a popped bubble of glaze to the bottom, aa overdecorated frit (indicating the frit was already on the rim before the over-decorating) and a restored chip to the rim.
Japanese Tea, Coffee and Chocolate wares 18th Century
Teacup and saucer
Height of teacup 45 mm (1.77 inch), diameter of rim 75 mm (2.95 inch), diameter of footring 33 mm (1.30 inch), weight 51 grams (1.80 ounce (oz.))
Height of saucer 22 mm (0.83 inch), diameter of rim 128 mm (4.69 inch), diameter of footring 68 mm (2.72 inch), weight 101 grams (3.56 ounce (oz.))
Teacup and saucer on footrings, slightly everted rims. The saucer with a spur-mark on the base. Imari decorated in underglaze blue, iron-red, green, black and gold with a central flower spray surround by an underglaze blue band with a meander pattern in gold and six lotus leaf-shaped panels in underglaze blue with foliate scrolls in gold filled with a flower head in gold on an iron-red ground. On the sides various flowering plants. On the rim a zig-zag lines-pattern border. On the reverse three flower sprays and on the base a single concentric band in underglaze blue. The teacup is decorated en suite.
The decorative style on this teacup and saucer is very similar to that used on other, earlier sold, Japanese Imari tea ware. The translucent enamel colours, the zig-zag lines-pattern borders and the reverses with the three wide spread flower sprays are all very similar. This could indicate that these may be the product of a single workshop but may or may not be the product of a single kiln, specialised in these high-quality tea wares. Judging by Dutch 18th century sales and inventories, Japanese porcelain was quite expensive at the time and even more highly valued than its Chinese counterpart.
For, earlier sold, Japanese tea wares decorated in this similar style, please see:
Sold object 2010334 (not included in this sale/offer)
Sold object 2010334 (not included in this sale/offer)
Sold object 2012088 (not included in this sale/offer)
Sold object 2012088 (not included in this sale/offer)
Sold object 2010609 (not included in this sale/offer)
Sold object 2010100L (not included in this sale/offer)
Sold object 2010100L (not included in this sale/offer)
Sold object 2011995 (not included in this sale/offer)
Sold object 2011995 (not included in this sale/offer)
Chinese Imari 1700-1800
Height 95 mm (3.74 inch), diameter of scale 135 mm (5.31 inch), diameter of cylindrical candle holder 29 mm (1.14 inch), diameter of foot 83 mm (3.27 inch), weight 193 grams (6.81 ounce (oz.))
Chamberstick on footring swelling base with a flat rim, cylindrical candle holder with C-shaped handle. Chinese Imari, decorated in underglaze blue, iron-red and gold on the flat rim with three peony flower sprays, on the swelling base two groups of flowering cherry and on the cylindrical candlestick holder, a taihu (garden) rock with flowering peony, bamboo and iris plants. On the handle a single flowering stem.
The VOC (Dutch East India Company) started to order Chinese porcelain in European shapes as early as 1634. Ewers, beer mugs, candlesticks, salts, mustard pots and other objects for the Dutch table were made after wooden models, which served as moulds for the Chinese potter, or were copied from Dutch glass, ceramic or metal equivalents. Such pieces may justly be called Chine de commande, as they were ordered specially by Western clients. The term also applies to porcelain with Western decorations.
Producing porcelain after models to the taste and needs of foreign customers was no novelty for the Chinese potters. Since the 14th century they had been making all kinds of special objects for the Persian, Indian, South-East Asian and other markets, and this new Western demand merely expanded the range of non-Chinese shapes.
In the late 17th and 18th century demand for Western shapes rapidly increased and Europeans became such important clients that several kilns in Jingdezhen came to specialise in 'Western' wares, probably making nothing else.
The constant changing demands of customers and the frequent ordering of new shapes made it necessary to provide the Chinese dealers with models. The Dutch and other European merchants supplied objects of earthenware, porcelain, silver, pewter or wood for that purpose, but it was also common practice to send drawings of the desired shapes. Literally hundreds of such drawn models were made in the West and handed over to the Chinese porcelain dealers in Canton with specifications regarding measurements, the number of pieces to be made and how they should be decorated. These middlemen then sent the drawings on to the factories in Jingdezhen, where they would have been thrown away after use, so that only a very few have by chance been preserved.
The European companies preferred to buy in bulk the basic, ordinary wares for which there was always a steady market. Pieces of an unusual Western shape or finer items such as coolers, ewers and basins, bough pots and covered jars were seldom bought. The costs of ordering these objects, the attention they needed and the small numbers the European market could absorb made them less interesting to the companies as merchandise. To the independent Western merchant, however, these considerations did not mater, while members of East indiamen's crews filled their sea chests with exclusive porcelain in Western shapes.
In paklijsten (packing lists) of the Dutch East India Company, (Vereenigde Oost-Indische Compagnie, VOC) candlesticks are mentioned as part of dinner services. The candlesticks of the Pronk dinner service at the Palazzo Venezia in Rome are a beautiful example. This chamberstick clearly modelled after a portable Western metal flat chamberstick, could very well have been part of a large Chinese Imari dinner service. (Lunsingh Scheurleer 1989, pp.150-1532), (Jörg & Van Campen 1997, pp.252-253)
Although candlesticks were one of the earliest European forms chosen for copying (with the exception of the dinner service), these creations did not survive the 18th century in any quantity because they were too delicate for everyday use, in spite of their decorative appeal. Clearly this Chinese Imari chamberstick also proved to be too delicate for everyday use, luckily it has been professionally restored. (Howard 1994, p.216)
For examples of other chambersticks, please see:
- Chine de Commande, (D.F. Lunsingh Scheurleer, Lochem 1989), p.151, cat. 130.
- The Choice of the Private Trader. The Private Market in Chinese Export Porcelain illustrated from the Hodroff Collection, (D.S. Howard, Zwemmer, London, 1994), p.219, cat. 256.
For a Japanese Arita export porcelain leaf shaped chamberstick, please see:
- Fine & Curious: Japanese Export Porcelain in Dutch Collections, (C.J.A. Jörg, Hotei Publishing, Amsterdam 2003), p.189, cat. 237.
Shipwreck Porcelains - The Nanking Cargo, 1752
Coffee cup and saucer
Provenance: The Nanking Cargo sale, Christie's Amsterdam, 28 April - 2 May 1986
Height of coffee cup 44 mm (1.73 inch), diameter of rim 83 mm (2.27 inch), diameter of footring 34 mm (1.34 inch), weight 111 grams (3.92 ounce (oz.))
Height of saucer 24 mm (0.94 inch), diameter of rim 132 mm (5.20 inch), diameter of footring 75 mm (2.95 inch), weight 61 grams (2.15 ounce (oz.))
Coffee cup and saucer on footring, straight rims. Batavia Brown covered with underglaze dark brown and underglaze-blue with a small open pavilion perched on a promontory within overhanging wintery foliage and evergreens, a wide river meandering past a similar retreat on an outcrop in the right background. The reverse is covered in underglaze dark brown. The teacup is decorated en suite. On the bases the original circular paper Christie's The Nanking Cargo sale lot 5612 labels proving they have been one of 30 similar teacups and saucers sold in lot 5612. (Amsterdam 1986, p.256)
On Monday January 3, 1752, the Dutch East India Company, (Vereenigde Oost-Indische Compagnie, VOC) ship Geldermalsen, struck a reef on her return journey to the Netherlands and sank in the South China Sea. Of the crew 32 survived and 80 went down with the ship and her cargo of tea, raw silk, textiles, dried wares, groceries, lacquer and porcelain.
The cargo of Chinese porcelain was originally potted in Jingdezhen, Jiangzi province then shipped to Nanking for delivery to the VOC vessel Geldermalsen for final transportation to the Netherlands. The Geldermalsen struck a reef on her return journey to the Netherlands and sank in the South China Sea on January 3, 1752. The cargo was recovered by Captain Michael Hatcher and his team in 1985 and sold by Christie's Amsterdam on 28 April - 2 May 1985 as 'The Nanking Cargo. Chinese Export Porcelain and Gold' two hundred and thirty five years later. (Jörg 1986/1. pp.39-59).
An interesting detail is that Captain Michael Hatcher found the wreck of the Geldermalsen on the same reef as he earlier, in 1983, found the wreck of a Chinese junk. both wrecks were about a mile apart. This Chinese Junk wreck came to be known as "The Hatcher Junk" she had a cargo of Kraak and Transitional porcelain objects that were dated c.1643. (Sheaf & Kilburn 1988, p.27)
The design on this coffee cup and saucer is known as the 'Batavian Pavilion' pattern. In total 1,674 coffee cups and saucers and 240 saucers without coffee cups with the 'Batavian Pavilion' pattern were sold divided over the lots: 5600-5638. (Amsterdam 1986, pp.256-258)
The market in the Netherlands for coffee- and tea cups and saucers seemed insatiable. Annually some 1000,000 cups and saucers arrive on each ship. The difference between a coffee cup and a tea cup was not yet clearly defined up till now, but Hatcher's find has made things easier. They are always cups without handles. The coffee cup is a little bigger and wider, on average with a diameter of 85 mm (3.35 inch) and a height of 45 mm (1.77 inch). Ordinary tea cups measure 75 mm (2.95 inch) diameter and 35 mm (1.38 inch) height, small tea cups 60 mm (2.36 inch) diameter and 33 mm (1.30 inch) height. The orders of the previous years show that the type with an even brown glaze on the outside is considered to be a coffee cup, for this type hardly occurs under the heading tea cup, or in small quantities only. This fits well with the recovered cargo: most brown cups are large, only one type is smaller and might have been a tea cup. According to the archives coffee- and tea cups with handles only became fashionable after 1760. (Jörg 1986/1. p.67).
In total eight different designs on tea- and coffee cups and saucers were discoverd. decorated in underglaze blue, Batavia Brown covered with underglaze dark brown and underglaze-blue and Chinese Imari.
Besides this 'Batavian Pavilion' pattern for examples of four of the other eight, previously sold, designs please see:
the 'Batavian Bamboo and Peony' pattern.
the 'Pagoda Riverscape' pattern in underglaze blue
the 'Blue Pine' pattern in underglaze blue
the 'Imari Pavilion' pattern
In the Netherlands, porcelain decorated in this type of underglaze brown has historically been called "Batavia Brown" or "Capucijnergoed" ("Chick-pea ware", after the legume). The first name may have been coined because most goods exported to The Netherlands from the East were sent via Batavia and has nothing to do with a Batavian production or decoration, It is a very common type with the decoration usually contained within medallions. Occasionally, a gold decoration has been painted on the brown glaze. The brown colour is achieved by using iron oxide as a pigment, which like underglaze blue, needs to be fired at high temperatures. Considerable quantities were exported to the Western and Inter-Asian markets from c.1700. The pieces are rarely refined and can be considered as articles for everyday use by the middle-classes. (Jörg 2002/2, p.120)
For an identically shaped, sized and decorated coffe cup and saucer, please see:
- The Choice of the Private Trader. The Private Market in Chinese Export Porcelain illustrated from the Hodroff Collection, (D.S. Howard, Zwemmer, London, 1994), p.181, cat. 207.
Saucers: A frit to the footring.
Price: € 249 - $ 304 - £ 219
(the $ and £ prices are approximates and depend on the € price exchange rate)
Chine de commande - Western Subjects 1680-1800 - Western Designers - Bonnart, Nicolas (1646-1717)
Height 22 mm (0.87 inch), diameter of rim 157 mm (6.18 inch), diameter of footring 82 mm (3.23 inch), weight 124 grams (4.37 ounce (oz.))
Dish on footring, flat rim. Decorated in underglaze blue with a group of Europeans in fashionable dress on a tiled terrace by a pavilion. The ladies' hair is dressed à la mode Fontanges, and the man wears a long wig. On the rim a border with rocks, flower sprays and birds in flight. On the reverse three wide peony sprays. Marked on the base with the symbol mark, Artemisia leaf, in a double circle, underglaze blue.
(Reproduced from, The Choice of the Private Trader. The Private Market in Chinese Export Porcelain illustrated from the Hodroff Collection, (D.S. Howard, Zwemmer, London, 1994), p.41, cat. 7. (copyright in bibliographic data and images is held by the publisher or by their respective licensors: all rights reserved) This dish is not included in this sale/offer.)
Above a dish with a design derived from French 'costume' prints of the end of the seventeenth century. This 'Music Party' design was copied from a print engraved by the Parisian Nicolas Bonnart (1646-1718), and drawn by his brother Robert Bonnart, which is shown in the accompanying illustration.
A print engraved by the Parisian Nicolas Bonnart (1646-1718), and drawn by his brother Robert Bonnart,
(Reproduced from, China for the West. Chinese Porcelain and other Decorative Arts for Export illustrated from the Mottahedeh Collection, (D.S. Howard & J. Ayers, Philip Wilson Publishers for Sotheby Parke Bernet Publications, London 1978), vol. 1, p.77, cat. 35. (copyright in bibliographic data and images is held by the publisher or by their respective licensors: all rights reserved) This engraving is not included in this sale/offer.)
Nicolas Bonnart and his brothers Robert, Henri and Jean were all engaged in the production and sale of engravings from c.1675 at addresses in the rue St Jacques, which remained a centre of this activity down to the nineteenth century. Of no outstanding distinction as artists, they nevertheless acquired fame both through their fashion prints, which reflect with unusual accuracy the changing modes of the day, and from their introduction as models for these of leading figures of the court.
It would be of interest to know trough what channels this unusual group of porcelains came to be ordered. Both the faithfulness of the copying and the hatched style of the drawing confirm the prints as their direct source. However, they as well have been made for clients in Holland where such prints appeared in pirated editions, e.g.by I. Gole of Amsterdam. (Howard & Ayers 1978, vol. 1, pp.77-78)
Reproduced from, The Choice of the Private Trader. The Private Market in Chinese Export Porcelain illustrated from the Hodroff Collection, (D.S. Howard, Zwemmer, London, 1994), p.41, cat. 7. (copyright in bibliographic data and images is held by the publisher or by their respective licensors: all rights reserved) This dish is not included in this sale/offer.
Above a rather deep dish with a flat rim, painted with a group of Europeans in fashionable dress on a tiled terrace by a pavilion with a classical cornice. The lady seated to the right holds a flower to her face. The girl hands her another from a basket held by a servant, while a man in the background also holds up a flower spray. The ladies' hair is dressed à la mode Fontanges, and the man wears a long wig. Round the sides in eight arcaded panels is repeated a design of two women standing on either side of a plant; one holding a flower spray and the other a fan. After an unidentified print possibly illustrating the sense of smell, from a set of 'The Senses': judging from its resemblance in the style of this dish: this to seem to be the work of the brothers Bonnart. A simplified version of the central design is found also on some smaller plates, 6 1/4 inch in diameter which have a rim border of flower sprays and birds. (Howard & Ayers 1978, vol. 1, pp.77-78)
Although the figures on this dish are dressed in Western style, the subject matter of painting should be Chinese as people are holding plants. It was a kind of traditional entertainment activity in ancient China, which was called doucao (playing with plants) or dou baicao (playing with hundred plants) and quite popular among girls and kids. Sometimes men also took part in the game. This game came into being in the Six dynasties. On the day of Dragon Boat Festival, people competed in the number of plants they picked or in the number of plant species they knew. By the Tang dynasty, the content of the doucao competition changed and included two aspects: fist, people competed in the tenacity of plant stems; and secondly, they competed in the number of plants they picked. This activity continued till the Qing dynasty. It was also recorded in the famous novel The Story of the Sone by Cao Xueqin. Here a scene about the second way of the doucao game is depicted on the dish, but it is very rare that people dressed in Western style were painted to show the traditional Chinese folk game - doucao. (Shanghai 2009, p.136)
For identically shaped, sized and decorated, simplified version dishes, please see:
- La porcelaine des Compagnies des Indes a décor Occidental, (F. & N. Hervouët & Y. Bruneau, Flammarion - Pere Castor, Paris 1986), p.106 cat. 4.77.
- Fine Chinese Export Porcelain from the Collection of Angelo Castelo Branco Cerqueira Caldas, auction sale catalogue Sotheby's London, 8th May 1990, pp.85-87, lot 169 (one of a pair).
- Traces of the Trade. Chinese Export Porcelain donated by Henk B. Nieuwenhuys, (Zhang Dong, Titus M. Eliëns, Zhou Lili, Lu Minghua, Ye Qian, Peng Tao, [chief editors: Chen Xiejun, Chen Kelun], Shanghai Museum, Shanghai 2009), pp.136-139, cat. 57 & 58.
Condition: Two fleabites, two frits, a chip and a hairline to the reverse rim.
Shipwreck Porcelains - The Hatcher Junk (1643-1646)
Provenance: The Hatcher Collection, Christie’s Amsterdam, 14 March 1984.
Height 41 mm (1.61 inch), diameter of rim 203 mm (7.99 inch), diameter of footring 106 mm (4.17 inch), weight 313 grams (11.04 ounce (oz.))
Dish on footring, slightly scalloped flat rim. Decorated in a light shade of underglaze blue under a degraded glaze with flowering plants issuing from rockwork encircled by an eight-pointed scalloped medallion. The sides and rim with large panels filled with peach and auspicious symbols and narrow panels filled with a diaper or scale pattern and dots. On the reverse five large panels filled with dots within a larger circle alternate with narrow panels filled with stylised lingzhi. On the base a rectangular paper auction label that reads: The Hatcher Collection, Christie's Amsterdam, 14-03-1984.
The Hatcher Cargo was recovered from the wreck of a Chinese junk in the South China seas port of Batavia (today Jakarta) by Captain Michael Hatcher in 1983, and was later sold in the Netherlands. They were a small part of what, at the time, was the largest cargo of Chinese porcelain ever recovered in good condition from the sea. Captain Michael Hatcher and his crew brought up about 25,000 pieces of unbroken porcelain from the Hatcher junk those sold through four sales at Christies Amsterdam. The very wide diversity and quality of many of the pieces created great interest, and the date was established by the existence in the find of two pieces with the Chinese cyclical date for 1643.
Captain Michael Hatcher and his crew brought up about 25,000 pieces of unbroken porcelain from the Hatcher junk. Those sold through four sales at Christies Amsterdam. Captain Hatcher returned to the site in 1985 and salvaged over 2,000 more pieces, most of which were sold through a London dealer, Heirloom and Howard. The great majority of the 25,000 pieces were Jingdezhen blue and white, but there were also interesting groups of celadon, blanc-de-Chine, coloured wares and provincial blue-and-white. (Sheaf & Kilburn 1988, pp.8-19)
The ship was almost certainly sailing from China to the Dutch base at Batavia from where cargoes were purchased and transhipped to Dutch East Indiamen for their journey to Europe.
The range of shapes of wares available in the Hatcher junk illustrates what a south Asian porcelain trading vessel of the mid-17th Century might be expected to contain. The cargo also includes objects which normally did not reach the West. This wreck should be seen in its historical context. There was a Dutch pewter jug found in the wreck, which certainly suggests a connection with the Dutch East India Company, (Vereenigde Oost-Indische Compagnie VOC), headquarters at Batavia. The native Ming dynasty was overthrown in 1644 and the resulting civil war substantially upset Chinese trade with the VOC and other western powers. The rebellion interrupted Junk trade to the VOC headquarters at Formosa, the entrepot for ceramics bound ultimately for Batavia. The contents of this wreck suggest a considerable conservatism in the production of Chinese domestic blue-and-white for the first half of the 17th Century. Types of kraak porcelain which were discovered in the Witte Leeuw wreck (which sank in 1613) are closely mirrored in the porcelain of this ship, 30 to 40 years later, it is often said that the Dutch were very conservative in their porcelain taste during the first half the 17th century. It may well be that the VOC went on buying kraak type wares, and the reason why such large amounts of dishes, bowls and jars survived especially in the Netherlands, is that, in fact, there was no export porcelain alternative readily available which the VOC could buy in quantity from Chinese trading Junks. Many of the smaller pieces offered from this wreck bear earlier reign-marks, mostly of the late Ming Emperors none unfortunately of Tianqi or Chongzheng, but equally none with Kangxi marks or cyclical dates for the earliest years of the Manchu Qing dynasty. (Amsterdam 1985, pp.7-8)
According to Rinaldi dishes found in the Hatcher Cargo can be classified as Border VII.3 dishes. Borders in this group show a great variety in their decorative motifs. The most common bears the sunflower motif alternating with large and simply drawn symbols. Dishes with similar border were found among the shards from the São Gonçalo, a Portuguese ship that sank along the south-east coast of South Africa in 1630. (Rinaldi 1989, pp.106-108)
The Dutch habitually placed their orders for plates and dishes in terms of 'full, half, third, quarter and eight sizes' which must have represented dimensions understood by the Dutch, the Chinese traders with whom they dealt and the potters. Actual measurements are almost never stated in the VOC records, and it is likely that there was in fact no common standard of measurement understood by all parties. Another standardizing factor would have been the use of moulds. These dishes were thrown on a wheel and then pressed over a mould to produce the indented panels that are so characteristic of kraak wares. (Sheaf & Kilburn 1988, p.37)
In total 48 of these 200 mm (7.87 inch), dishes, decorated with a bird and flowering plants issuing from rockwork were sold by Christie's Amsterdam on March 14, 1984. (Amsterdam 1984/1, lot 138, 139, 338A)
For similarly decorated dishes, please see:
- Fine and Important Late Ming and Transitional Porcelain, recently recovered from an Asian vessel in the South China Sea. The Property of Captain Michael Hatcher. Auction catalogue Christie’s Amsterdam, 14 March 1984, pp.30-31, lots 138 & 139, p.55, lots 338A & 339)
- The Hatcher Porcelain Cargoes. The Complete Record, (C. Sheaf & R. Kilburn, Oxford 1988), p.44, Pl.52.
Condition: Two fleabites and a frit to the rim.
Japanese Blue and White wares 17th Century
Height 26 mm (1.02 inch), diameter of rim 202 mm (7.95 inch), diameter of footring 105 mm (4.13 inch), weight 261 grams (9.21 ounce (oz.))
Dish on footring, flat rim. On the base four spur-marks in a Y-pattern. Decorated in underglaze blue with a seated lady, flanked by children holding and waving a fan, in a theatre like setting. The lady observes the lodge of the theatre filled with a hundred children. The reverse is undecorated.
The lady depicted is most likely the Chinese goddess Guan Yin. Porcelain decorated with this design is known as 'Guan Yin in the hall of the hundred children'. Two versions of the design are known, one as described the other with a banderol filled with Chinese characters just above the box of the seated Guan Yin. The dishes were probably made from the end of the seventeenth century and for many decades. The design probably originated from China. Dishes like these were usually given to family members, whishing them rich offspring.
Guan Yin is the fertility goddess who left the greatest impact in the mortal world with many temples built in her honour. The ancient Chinese believed that after one prayed to her and brought a pair of embroidered shoes home, one would conceive a son soon. In some Chinese families today, she is a revered figure. Guan Yin is usually depicted as a beautiful, dignified and benevolent goddess carrying a child or holding a vase with a willow branch in it. These symbolise her duties of 'bestowing sons' and 'showering of compassion on mortal world'.
The Legend of Guan Yin Bringing Sons
Long ago there was a Taoist priest who needed the hearts of hundred young boys to produce the elixir of life. So he kidnapped hundred boys and locked them up in a dark room first.
Coincidentally on this night, Guan Yin was passing by and heard the cries of the children, She saw the priest sharpening his knife beside a pill on the table. Guan Yin flicked the pill away. She drew the priest out of the dark room and saved the children. However, Guan Yin did not know where the children stayed or who their parents were. Then she remembered hearing of an official in his fourties who was corrupt and childless. She thought of teaching him a lesson so she left the hundred children at his doorstep.
Upon discovering the children, the couple kept two children and decided to sell the rest for ten taels of silver per child. By dawn the next day. all the children had been taken away by many men and women. A magistrate's runner reported a young lady was responsible for it and she lived in the abode of Guan Yin. The couple knew it was the act of Guan Yin and died out of fright.
In this way, the story of Guan Yin bringing sons spread among the people. Now childless couples would pray to Guan Yin for a healthy baby. (Chinese Auspicious Culture, Beijing Foreign Language Press)
For a comparison between a Japanese and a Chinese version of the design, please see:
- H.A. Daendels, Catalogus tentoonstelling Japans blauw wit Porselein. Op Hollandse bestelling en in de Japanse smaak, exhibition catalogue Gemeentelijk Museum Het Princessehof, Leeuwarden 1981. Also Published as Mededelingenblad Nederlandse Vereniging van Vrienden van de Ceramiek, vols. 101/102, p.24, cat. 5a & 5b.
For an identically shaped, sized and decorated dish, please see:
- Japans porselein met blauwe decoraties uit de tweede helft van de zeventiende en de eerste helft van de achttiende eeuw. (D.F. Lunsingh Scheurleer in Mededelingenblad Nederlandse Vereniging van Vrienden van de Ceramiek, vols. 64/65, 1971), p.72, cat. 61.
For an identically shaped, sized and decorated dish with a banderol filled with Chinese characters, please see:
- Japans porselein met blauwe decoraties uit de tweede helft van de zeventiende en de eerste helft van de achttiende eeuw. (D.F. Lunsingh Scheurleer in Mededelingenblad Nederlandse Vereniging van Vrienden van de Ceramiek, vols. 64/65, 1971), p.72, cat. 62.
For a similarly decorated, Japanese bowl, please see:
- The Shibata Collection Part I, (The Kyushu Ceramic Museum, Kyushu, 1990), p.175, cat. 470.
- Complete Catalogue of the Shibata Collection, (The Kyushu Ceramic Museum, Kyushu 2003), p.396, cat. 3111.