Archer, Michael. Delftware: The Tin-Glazed Earthenware of the British Isles. A Catalogue of the Collection in the Victoria and Albert Museum. London: The Stationery Office, 1997. p.151, Cat. No.B.73. ISBN 0 11 290499 8
Delftware plate, painted with panels of Chinese figures in landscapes. British (Bristol), ca.1754.
Diameter: 23 cm
English Delftware (Rijksmuseum 23/03/1973-08/07/1983)
British Galleries, room 52d
Mr C.J. Lomax. Professor F.H. Garner Bequest, 1965.
Exhibited: Rijksmuseum, No: 110.
Probably made at the pottery of Thomas Cantle, Temple Back, Bristol
This plate was made in imitation of Chinese blue and white porcelain, which was imported from China in large quantities after 1700. It would have been much cheaper than Chinese porcelain. An opaque glaze conceals a buff pottery body. The painter achieved the speckled effect by spraying a pigment through a straw. [27/03/2003]
The front is covered with powdered manganese-purple, with the exception of five reserved panels of Chinese figures standing in landscapes, holding a stick or fishing, all in blue.
Body colour: Buff.
Glaze: Greyish white. Many small white dots in the glaze, particularly visible in painted areas.
Shape: Shape M with slightly more upturned flange. (Alphabetic shape codes as used in appendix to Archer. Delftware. 1997)
Attribution based on a similar dated example (see references: Archer).
During the 18th century, ceramic plates gained in popularity over those made from pewter. Cheaper than porcelain, though offering similar decorative possibilities, delftware (English-made, tin-glazed earthenware) was a popular choice. This stylishly decorated delftware plate, dating from the mid-1750s, probably represents the high-point in the fashionability of the material. However, delftware was already facing competition from the white salt-glazed stonewares of Staffordshire, and both were soon to be eclipsed by creamware.
The single most important influence on the decoration of English delftware was porcelain from East Asia. From the early 17th century to the very end of the 18th century, a succession of Chinese and Japanese painting styles and motifs were adopted by potters in England. Imports of Chinese porcelain during the 17th century provided prototypes that were copied more or less faithfully, but from around 1680, an English Chinoiserie style began to emerge, with pottery painters inventing their own simplifications, abstractions and patterns. Both the central motif of this plate and its powdered pigment border show an East Asian influence.