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Sold Japanese wares over-decorated in the West 18th Century


Dutch over-decorated Amsterdams Bont


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.


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


Object 2012144






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


Height 20 mm (0.79 inch), diameter of rim 115 mm (4.53 inch), diameter of footring 52 mm (2.05 inch), weight 85 grams (3.00 ounce (oz.)) 


Saucer on footring, flat rim. Imari decorated in underglaze blue, iron-red, overglaze green, yellow and black enamel and gold with flowering plants and a bird in flight. On the rim three florets between scrolls alternating with a bird in flight, over-decorated in iron-red in The Netherlands, Amsterdams Bont c.1750-1770 outlining all birds, the central florets and the original undecorated reverse with four good fortune Buddhist symbols.


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)


Another identically shaped, sized and decorated saucer is in an English private collection.


Condition: Perfect.



Espir 2005, p.74


Price: Sold.


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


Object 2010107


Teacup and saucer




1720-1730, over-decorated in the Netherlands, Amsterdams Bont,c.1740-1750


Height of teacup 39 mm (1.54 inch), diameter or rim 70 mm (2.76 inch), diameter of footring 30 mm (1.18 inch)

Height of saucer 19 mm (0.75 inch), diameter of rim 115 mm (4.53 inch), diameter of footring 54 mm (2.13 inch)


Teacup and saucer on footrings, slightly everted rims. Over-decorated in various overglaze enamels, iron-red, black and gold in The Netherlands, Amsterdams Bont c.1750-1770 with a couple sitting outside by a table drinking coffee in a landscape with trees, water and a village with a church tower in the background. On the table an 18th century Dutch coffeepot with two tabs (in Dutch een kraantjeskan met twee kraantjes). The man is holding his cup upside down in his hand just above his saucer but strangely the woman seems to be drinking from the saucer instead of the cup which clearly stands on the table. The reverse is undecorated. The teacup is decorated en suite.


In the Netherlands and Germany it was the custom, in some circles, to pour the tea or coffee from the cup into the saucer and drink it from the saucer.


For an identically over-decorated saucer, please see:

Another similarly, Dutch over-decorated Amsterdams Bont, design on identically sized and shaped Japanese teacups & saucers, shows a couple and the Commedia dell`Arte character Arclecchino standing at the water's edge (without the table). The rim with an identical border.. The Commedia dell`Arte was a popular subject on Meissen porcelain in the 1740s and '40s, and it is likely that this is from where this similarly design derives.


For a teacup and saucer with this similarly Dutch over-decorated Amsterdams Bont design, please see:

Condition teacup: Perfect.

Condition saucer: Perfect.



Espir 2005, cat 11 & 17

Salisbury 2014, cat. 324


Price: Sold.


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