Chinese Coffee Cup, decorated in the London studio of James Giles, c.1755-65

 

This Chinese Qianlong coffee cup was probably made 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 design. This was achieved by applying white slip to the fired porcelain body, which was then glazed and re-fired. The particular design seen here, with its tightly-scrolled florial and foliate elements covering the surface of the cup, is really rather unusual. Soon after its arrival in England, the cup was painted in the Giles studio with a bouquet of European flowers, including back-to-back yellow and pink roses, a fancy butterfly, heartsease and scattered sprigs. The interior base is painted with a pink rose spray.

Provenance: Dealer label for R&G McPherson Antiques, London; Jill McNeile, a collector with an excellent eye and a penchant for Giles decorated Chinese porcelain.

Condition: There is some very minor chipping to the brown enamel rim, and typical Qianlong potting flaws. No other damage or restoration. The Giles decoration is in excellent order.

Dimensions: Height approximately 6 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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