Chinese Coffee Cup, hard paste porcelain with bianco-sopra-bianco decoration, painted 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 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 cup was painted in the Giles studio with a rose and a striped tulip with divergent petals, a caterpillar with a red stripe, a butterfly and a bug, as well as a pair of cherries and scattered sprigs. The interior base is painted with a pink rose.

Provenance: Stephen Hanscombe - exhibited at the Holburne Museum, Bath, 2013; Jill McNeile, a collector with an excellent eye and a penchant for Giles decorated Chinese porcelain.

Condition: There is some chipping to the rim, and a clay tear to the upper handle terminal from manufacture. Light wear and typical Qianlong potting flaws. No other damage or restoration. The flower decoration is in good order.

Dimensions: Height 6 cm

The Stephen Hanscombe Porcelain Collection: James Giles and his Contemporary Decorators, Antonia Agnew and Felicity Marno (Elmhirst & Suttie Ltd, 2014). The cup is illustrated as item number 7.

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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