Chinese Coffee Cup, hard paste porcelain, 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 used here was unusually sparse. Soon after its arrival in London, the bianco-sopra-bianco design was finely overpainted with trailing branches of pink roses, and a blue and an orange flower with leafy stems. The interior base is painted with a pink stylised flower head. Beside the handle flies a butterfly with its wings on the upbeat. This style of painting is rather unusual and especially fine.

Provenance: Jill McNeile, a collector with an excellent eye and a penchant for Giles decorated Chinese porcelain.

Condition: No chips, cracks or restoration, just a tiny kiln touch to one of the leaves which occurred during firing of the polychrome enamels. The painted decoration is in excellent order.

Dimensions: Height 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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