Pater Gratia Oriental Art

Japanese Porcelain

 

Japanese wares over-decorated in the West 18th Century

  

Page 1

Amsterdams Bont is the name given to a specific group of Japanese or Chinese porcelain that was over-decorated with enamels in the Netherlands. The group consists of bowls, plates, vases, cups and saucers, etc., that were painted in underglaze blue in Jingdezhen or Arita (Japan) and shipped to Holland. Because coloured wares yielded more profits than the ordinary blue-and-white, an additional enamelled decoration was painted on these porcelains. Sometimes this new decoration respects the original Chinese or Japanese decoration and elaborates on it. Other times, however, the Dutch painter was not so respectful and over-painted the blue, creating a chaotic design. Of course, it was easier to paint undecorated pieces that were completely white, for which Japanese wares seem to have been preferred. Over-decorating first appears c.1700 and continued far into the 18th century. It was probably done privately by individuals to generate some extra income. These over-painted pieces were fired in local ceramic factories, which did this in addition to their normal assortment. It is likely that this practise was concentrated in Delft, Makkum and Harlingen where earthenware (faience) was produced, but it could also be done in tile factories such as those in Rotterdam. Notwithstanding the name of this category, there is no indication that it was done on a large scale in Amsterdam. Dated pieces are rare, and because there is almost no documentary information on Amsterdams Bont, it is difficult to say when exactly these pieces were made. Usually, carefully painted objects are regarded as early.

  

Dutch over-decorated Amsterdams Bont

 

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2011993

Japanese wares over-decorated in the West 18th Century - Dutch over-decorated Amsterdams Bont - Page 1

 

Object 2011993

 

Saucer

 

Japan

 

1700-1730, over-decorated in the Netherlands, Amsterdams Bont,c.1750-1770

 

Height 23 mm (0.91 inch), diameter of rim 116 mm (4.57 inch), diameter of footring 51 mm (2.01 inch), weight 87 grams (3.07 ounce (oz.)) 

 

Saucer on footring, slightly everted rim. Imari decorated in underglaze blue and gold. The originally blank reverse over-decorated in brown and gold in The Netherlands, Amsterdams Bont c.1750-1770. Decorated with a flower spray in a central roundel. The sides and rim with two flowering cherry trees. The reverse over-decorated in brown with leafy flowering scrolls in gold.

 

2011993

 

For European decorated oriental porcelain mostly Chinese export porcelain objects were used. Only a small proportion were Japanese. 

 

The demand for Japanese porcelain was strong but production was restricted so here was a gap in the market that the enameller could fill most profitably by giving Chinese porcelain a Japanese look. The simplest way of transferring Chinese porcelain into 'Japanese' was to enhance Chinese blue and white porcelain with iron-red and gold to create the appearance of Imari. (Espir 2005, p.74)

 

Strangely the brown and gold over-decoration on this Japanese Imari saucer was intended to 'imitate' Chinese Batavia brown (Capucin) ware. It was probably done in Delft, Amsterdam or elswhere in The Netherlands. 

 

Condition: Perfect.

 

Reference:

Espir 2005, p.74

 

Price: € 119 - $ 132 - £ 107

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

 

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English over-decorated Clobbered wares

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Japanese wares over-decorated in the West 18th Century - English over-decorated Clobbered wares - Page 1

 

Object 2012221

 

Beaker vase

 

Japan

 

1700-1720, Over-decorated in the West probably England, clobbered, c.1780-1830

 

Height 170 mm (6.69 inch), diameter of mouth 92 mm (3.62 inch), diameter of waist 78 mm (3.07 inch), diameter of footring 58 mm (2.28 inch), weight 409 grams (14.43 ounce (oz.))

 

Beaker vase of waisted cylindrical shape with a flaring rim and a spreading lower part tapering to a takefushi-shaped foot on a footring. Decorated in underglaze blue with two groups of flowering plants, round the rim a border with flower heads on an underglaze blue ground. Over-decorated in green enamel, iron-red and gold in the West probably England, clobbered, c.1780-1830 with flowering plants, leaves and scrolls. Round the foot an asterisks and dots and a silkworm-pattern border.  Marked on the base with an over-decorator's mark in iron-red in the form of a square filled with a pseudo-Chinese character.

 

According to Espir this beaker vase belongs to a group of Japanese porcelain over-decorated with what is thought to be English decoration dating from c.1780 until about 1830. It is generally garish and so overwhelming that it gave rise to the term 'clobbered' and the poor reputation from which all over-decorated Chinese and Japanese porcelain have suffered since the late 19th century. Much of the Chinese and Japanese porcelain over-decorated in this way was blue and white dating back to the flood of imports from the first half of the eighteenth century which by then was one hundred years old second hand and so unfashionable as to be unsaleable. On the base of many pieces over-decorated in this way is a decorator's mark in iron-red in the form of a square filled with a pseudo-Chinese character. (Espir 2005, pp.239-240)     

 

The demand for Japanese porcelain was strong but production was restricted so here was a gap in the market that the enameller could fill most profitably by giving Chinese porcelain a Japanese look. The simplest way of transferring Chinese porcelain into 'Japanese' was to enhance Chinese blue and white porcelain with iron-red and gold to create the appearance of Imari. For European decorated oriental porcelain mostly Chinese export porcelain objects were used. Only a small proportion were Japanese. (Espir 2005, p.74)

 

This beaker vase was once part of a garniture which mostly consisted of three covered oviform-shaped jars and two cylindrical beaker vases with spreading mouths, all with the same decoration, They were very popular in The Netherlands and elsewhere in Europe, where they were used as decorative items in the interior. (Jörg 2003/1, p.259)

 

Condition: Perfect.

 

References:

Jörg 2003/1, p.259

Espir 2005, p.74 & pp.239-240

 

Price: € 199 - $ 223 - £ 169

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

 

More pictures >>