A Chinese Coffee Cup, decorated in London, circa 1740-50

This early Qianlong coffee cup arrived in England painted in blue with a tree, bird, and lotus leaves, beneath a trellis border. Working in the ‘Limehouse Class’ of enamel decoration, the London artist of the 1740s has added green rocks, red and green reeds, trailing flowers in pink and red, and a leafy tree covered in pink and white blossom. There is also the addition of a charming red and green bird in flight. They also added the red loop border inside the rim, and the flower spray to the interior base. There was gilding too, but only traces of this remain.

Condition: There is typical roughness and fritting around the base, and a few small chips to the rim, with a larger flat chip. There is also what appears to be an original manufacturing flaw beneath the inside rim. This became a firing crack which then extended.

Dimensions: Height 6.5 cm

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 sale catalogue, 7 November, 2003).