Chinese Teapot and Cover, hard paste porcelain with bianco-sopra-bianco decoration, painted with butterflies and flowers in the London studio of James Giles, c.1755-65


This 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 teapot was painted in the Giles studio with fashionable European flowers, including a striped tulip, heartsease, and a large bouquet with a pink rose and a yellow ranunculus-type flower. There are also butterflies, their pale yellow wings patterned with black dots, and a lovely winged insect.

Provenance: The Jill McNeile Collection.

Condition: Good - the spout is a contemporary silver replacement. There are a couple of short hairlines emanating from the body where the silver spout is attached, presumably from when the original porcelain spout broke off. Wear to the gilt knop. No other damage or restoration.

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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