Rare Plate, Isleworth, soft paste porcelain, c.1765


This scallop-edged dessert plate is painted with Chinese riverscapes and flowers in fan and circular-shaped panels reserved on a powder blue ground. This style of decoration imitates that of Kangxi powder blue wares. The underside is painted with three herbal sprigs.

This plate has a number of characteristics typical of Isleworth porcelain, including ‘orange peel’ speckling to the glaze, and a dark, almost ‘sunken’ blue. The riverscape composition here with its domed ‘basilica’ and ‘tadpole’ pine tree is distinctive to this factory and quite unlike that of Bow, Lowestoft, Worcester and Caughley, who all produced versions of this pattern.

The pseudo-Chinese marks used here appear to be specific to Isleworth powder blue plates.

Provenance: With Roderick Jellicoe, London. Exhibited in Isleworth Pottery and Porcelain: recent discoveries, a joint exhibition of the English Ceramic Circle and the Museum of London Specialist Services, held 5 - 14 June 2003 at the premises of Stockspring Antiques, 114 Kensington Church Street, London W8; Private Collection, London.

Both the glaze and underglaze cobalt blue pigment of this piece have been tested using X-Ray Fluorescence Spectroscopy (XRF). The results, published in the English Ceramic Circle Transactions, vol. 28, 2017, reveal that the cobalt blue contains nickel. This is significant as 10 out of 10 of all confirmed Isleworth pieces contain nickel, as do all 36 of the possible Isleworth pieces tested. Compare this with the results for Bow, where no nickel is present in the cobalt blue pigment.

Condition: There are one or two tiny nicks to the rim and three stilt marks left behind by the kiln furniture used during the firing process. The removal of one these caused a small chip. There is also a small kiln touch to the underside edge and one or two specks of stray cobalt which fired turquoise. No cracks or restoration.

Dimensions: Diameter 18.5 cm

Transactions, vol. 28 (English Ceramic Circle, 2017). See the entry for item no. 2015-04 120, page 24.

Isleworth Pottery and Porcelain: recent discoveries, compiled by Roger Massey, Jacqueline Pearce and Ray Howard (English Ceramic Circle and Museum of London, 2003). Illustrated on page 108.

Godden's Guide to Blue and White Porcelain, Geoffrey A. Godden (Antique Collectors' Club, 2004).


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