Chinese Teapot and Cover with bianco-sopra-bianco decoration, painted with butterflies and flowers in the London studio of James Giles, c.1750-60


This tea teapot and cover was made in China, probably in around 1750, and transported to London shortly afterwards. When it arrived in England, the only decoration it would have possessed is the so-called bianco-sopra-bianco ('white on white') raised floral design. This was achieved by applying white slip to the fired porcelain body, which was then glazed and re-fired. Soon after its arrival in England, the tea bowl was painted in the Giles studio with fashionable European flowers, including roses, heartsease and dianthus, distinctive pairs of cherries, and brightly coloured butterflies with outspread wings.

Provenance: The Jill McNeile Collection. Exhibited in the Early James Giles exhibition at Stockspring Antiques, London, 2008, cat. 52).

Condition: The flower bud finial is made up, but there is no other restoration and no cracks. The roughness to the tip of the spout is in the making as it is glazed, apart from one tiny flat chip. Beside the spout is a small clay tear from manufacture. The flower painting is especially attractive, and the floral bouquets particularly large and detailed. A lovely palette too, with an unusual turquoise-green.

Dimensions: Height 13 cm

The Early James Giles and his Contemporary London Decorators, Stephen Hanscombe (Stockspring Antiques Publications, 2008).

European Decoration on Oriental Porcelain, 1700-1830, Helen Espir (Jorge Welsh Books, 2005).

The Watney Collection of Chinese Porcelain Decorated in Holland and England (Bonhams, 2003).


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