Pair of Chinese Vases, soft paste porcelain, decorated in the London studio of James Giles, c.1755-60
Of Chinese Qianlong 'soft paste' porcelain, the flared quatrelobed neck and shoulders of each vase is ornamented with applied decoration of squirrels, trailing vines and grapes. The flattened oviform body of each vase is painted with a bouquet of Giles Type B European flowers, the reverse with a brightly painted butterfly with outstretched wings.
Provenance: Stephen Hanscombe; exhibited The Early James Giles and his Contemporary London Decorators (Stockspring, London, 2008), cat. 63.
The squirrel and grape vine is a popular theme in the decorative arts of China. In Chinese, grapes are called putao, the syllable tao being a homophone for the word 'peach'. Squirrels are called songshu, the syllable song being the word for 'pine'. Both the peach and the pine represent longevity. Added to this, the trailing vine and grapes represent the flourishing and continuation of the family line.
Condition: (Vase painted with a tulip). The painted and sprigged decoration is in good order. One of the smaller of the four lobes at the rim is restored, with some of the spray having worn away, and there is some restoration to a small chip on the opposite lobe. There may be some minute restoration to the head of the squirrel only. From manufacture, there are typical minor glazing and firing flaws, including two short firing cracks / clay tears visible inside the neck, and a shorter one on the outside. There are also a couple of firing cracks / clay tears between the foot and the body of the vase, and a tiny glaze-free spot on the rim, where the glaze had crawled during firing to reveal the biscuit. No other damage or restoration. The Giles decoration is in excellent order.
(Vase painted with a yellow rose). The painted and sprigged decoration is in good order. One of the smaller of the four lobes at the rim has some restoration, and there are also a few tiny chips to the underside of the lobes which have been restored. There is a small clay tear below one of the lobes, visible on the exterior. There is a short 1.5 cm hairline from the rim which is visible to the interior / exterior. There are two tiny file marks to the footrim. No other damage or restoration. The Giles decoration is in excellent order.
Dimensions: Height 13.3 - 13.4 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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