An interesting English porcelain Plate, circa 1765

The decoration of this octagonal plate is after a Chinese original in which a large peony, bamboo and grasses are painted in underglaze blue. The large leaves beneath the peony are decorated with a sgraffito technique with the veins scratched into the wet pigment. The wide diaper-trellis border is punctuated by four panels containing demi-flower heads reserved on a blue ground. The underside edge is painted with four herbal sprigs.

This plate belongs to a small group of curious wares with characteristics typical of Isleworth porcelain, including being virtually opaque when held against a strong light, and a dark, almost ‘sunken’ blue painted decoration. A version of this pattern occurs on Bow porcelain, however the sgraffito leaves do not feature on any of the Bow examples. It seems likely that another London maker was responsible, although the identity is presently unknown.


Provenance: The Frank Wheeldon Collection; 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 is a small flat chip to one corner and a flat chip to the underside of another corner. No cracks or restoration.

Dimensions: Diameter 22 cm

Transactions, vol. 28 (English Ceramic Circle, 2017). See the entry for item no. 2015-04 126, page 26.

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

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