Chinese Spoon Tray, hard paste porcelain, painted with Fancy Birds in the London studio of James Giles, c.1760


This Qianlong lobed hexagonal spoon tray was decorated in London with Fancy Birds. The principal long-tailed bird, with its crest and brightly-coloured plumage, rests on a leafy rock in the foreground, whilst a similar bird perches on the branch of a tree to the right. A bird in flight can be seen to the left, with outstretched wings, and small flocks of birds can be seen in the sky above.

Inspired by Sèvres style bird painting found on Chelsea Red Anchor porcelain, Giles Fancy Bird decoration first appears in the middle of the 1750s. The gilded rim with dentil edge is a decorative motif occasionally employed by the artists of the Giles studio on Chinese porcelain. Similar decoration occurs on outside-decorated Bow from the same period.

Condition: Excellent - no chips, cracks or restoration. The decoration is in wonderful order, with just some wear to the gilt dentil border in places. Typical of Chinese export porcelain, there are minor manufacturing anomalies, such as pinholes and a small firing mark to the unglazed base.

Dimensions: Length 13.3; Width 9.3 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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