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Subject:Canton-painted European Porcelain Blanks
Posted By: Bill H Sun, Jul 16, 2017 IP: 2601:0342:0080:4e1c:

Some years ago I developed an interest in Canton enamels that are painted on other than Chinese porcelain. My collection mainly includes French Limoges blanks that I believe were painted at Canton during the third quarter of the 19th century or a bit later. Some arguments have been made that delegations of Chinese porcelain painters went to Europe and produced these dishes there, but the simplest and probably valid case weighs for them being painted in China. By the time the Opium Wars ended in 1860, Britain and France had control of inland transportation in China, and Jingdezhen was in the early stages of rebuilding the destruction left there in the wake of the Taiping Rebellion. Bottom line was that Chinese porcelain made at Jingdezhen was experiencing quality control problems at a time when it was easy for The Brits and French to bring in their own stocks of blanks to keep the Hongs at Canton busy.

The embedded link below contains images of two different cup & saucer sets, one with a scored mark of the Limoges Haviland & Company and another more recently acquired set that has what I believe is a bordered seal script mark of 成伃 (Cheng Yu), also rendered as 成妤 with same transcription and meaning (NOTE: 伃 is not in some modern Chinese dictionaries but comes up in the Unicode data base). Presuming the mark is read from the right in traditional Chinese style, the term might be translated as "Ready-made Beauty" or "Becoming Beautiful". The fact that the term is quite common in personal and business names is a huge impediment to online research.

So I'm here with hat in hand again seeking fellow collectors of Chinese-painted European Dishes, and especially anyone else who may have knowledge of this two-character mark.

I'm sure others will notice the similarity between the writing style of this mark and some of the mid-20th century Kutani seal-script marks seen at So I wouldn't be surprised to find a Japanese hand behind some of these dishes.

If the Picture Link works, it shows a dish from the Carl Tielsch Kiln in Silesia that has another pattern usually found on Canton-painted porcelain.

Best regards,

Bill H.

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