Description & Technical information

Swedish or Scandinavian Market

Price:  £4,800

A rare Chinese export porcelain famille rose charger with a central image of Neptune on a dolphin’s back with a European ship flying the Swedish flag, the rim with gilt shell and scroll border.

This design is known also with Danish and Dutch flags on the ship and was probably offered as a special order to sailors in Canton, with the flag painted in the final firing; the versions with Scandinavian flags have this border, but the one with a Dutch flag has a different border.

The source of the image is unknown, but its slightly stiff composition indicates that it may have been put together in Canton by an enterprising supercargo, using earlier prints, three of which are shown below. It may also have been inspired by another image of Neptune riding dolphins that is also known on Chinese export porcelain, from an engraving by Frederick Bloemaert after his father Abraham’s painting The Triumph of Neptune (see below right).

References: Wirgin 1998, p187, No 202, a dinner plate with Swedish flag; Hervouet p40, No 2.13, an example with Dutch flag and different border; Mezin 2004, p94, famille rose teabowl and saucer with a scene of Neptune and Amphitrite, the teapot from that service in the Winterthur Museum, illustrated Palmer 1976, plate 43.

Date:  circa 1750
Period:  18th century, Qianlong period
Origin:  China
Medium: porcelain
Dimensions: 39 cm (15³/₈ inches)
Categories: Oriental and Asian Art