Description & Technical information

English Market
from the Golden Gate Collection

A Chinese export porcelain punchbowl decorated in famille rose with a continuous scene to the exterior, of six ships all flying the flags of the British merchant navy.

This fine bowl is elegantly painted with finely detailed ships on blue waves with dark rocks in the foreground. The flag flown on all the ships is the Red Ensign, used in this version from 1707-1801, as instituted by Queen Anne, who commanded that it be used by ships owned by “our loving subjects”.  This flag was flown by the thirteen colonies of America until 1775.

This was probably a private order by a ship’s captain who was himself in Canton. No other identical example is recorded though there exists an interesting range of different marine subject bowls and other porcelains. Similar bowls with wrap-around decoration like this mostly show specific battles with the print sources identified or the ships named.

Another example of a rare maritime subject with a similar ship is the grisaille central roundel inside a Chinese famille rose punchbowl, that shows a scene at the Pierced Rock in the St Lawrence Gulf in North America (see image) after print from the Scenographia Americana.

References: Hervouët & Bruneau 1986, Chapter 2, Sujets Marins.

Date:  Qianlong period circa 1760
Period:  1750-1850, 18th century
Origin:  China
Medium: porcelain
Dimensions: 40.5 cm (16 inches)
Categories: Oriental and Asian Art