A Chinese Saucer, Qianlong, circa 1740

This finely potted Chinese saucer is painted in enamels with a scene depicting merchants and their wares by a quayside. The view is framed within a gilt scrollwork cartouche containing four lustre panels, and edged with elaborate puce and red strapwork. A complex gilt border completes the decoration.

Kauffahrtei scenes depicting merchants and harbours were popularised by Meissen during the 1730s, with the elaborate Laub und Bandelwerk (leaf and strapwork) borders often incorporating the use of Böttger lustre.

During the 1740s, this Chinese interpretation of Meissen influenced the work of London enamelers, and examples of both Limehouse and Chinese porcelain decorated in London with simplified harbour scenes are recorded.

Condition: There is wear to the gilt border and to some parts of the enamel decoration. In spite of the wear, the painting is incredibly detailed. There is chipping and fritting to the rim, with related hairlines. The reverse reveals an original firing crack which clearly extended slightly. No restoration.

Dimensions: Diameter 12 cm

The Early James Giles and his Contemporary London Decorators, Stephen Hanscombe (Stockspring Antiques Publications, 2008).