VERY RARE CHINESE EXPORT SEMI-EGGSHELL MINIATURE (TOY) TEABOWL & SAUCER
"VALENTINE PATTERN", Early Qianlong, c1745
(Most Images Are Oversized for Inspection)
The saucer painted in famille rose enamels and gilt with a garland-draped breadfruit tree, the garland ending in two kissing doves,
sided by 2 flaming hearts on the altar of love, a pair of dogs (fidelity) and three sheep, the foreground with Cupid’s bow and
a quiver of arrows, a pair of spears with a corded bag, and a gilt ring on a pillow, to each side with a gentleman, in the background
mountains and a bird in flight, within a roundel of black, by iron-red bordered gilt, and black-bordered green, within a foliate scroll
border painted en camaieu puce, gilt-edged rim; the teabowl painted en suite, the puce foliate border above a black-bordered green
border, gilt-edged rim
The "Valentine" Pattern is dedicated to love and was originally given to Commodore George Anson on his circumnavigation
of the world in 1743 – one of the most arduous voyages in the history of sea adventures. Begun in 1740, its original purpose
was to attack Spanish possessions in South America during the war of Jenkins’ Ear. The mission failed, losing both ships and crew –
the crew even mutinying off the west coast of Chili (1741). Anson eventually collected all that remained onto his ship Centurion,
and with perseverance, continued westward across the Pacific. Excessive scurvy and ship leakages forced a refuge on the small island
of Tinian, near Saipan (1742). There his crews found (and brought back) the nourishing breadfruit, of later fame in the Bounty’s mutiny.
Continuing the westward journey, in 1743, he harbored at Canton, where he and his men were instrumental in saving Canton from a fire
which would otherwise have destroyed the entire city. In recognition, a porcelain service – known as “Valentine Pattern” -
was commissioned for Anson, depicting items drawn from the sketches of his resident artist on that voyage.
Condition : Excellent, the teabowl with one tiny nick to the interior gilt on the rim
(Please note - these images are oversized for inspection)
Saucer 3-3/16" Diameter; Teabowl 1-1/16” High x 1-7/8” Diameter
The exact purpose of these small porcelains is debated. Some report them as being used for medicine. They are often described
as “toy” porcelains, being use in period doll houses, as well as display in wall cabinets. Whatever the original concept, they hold a
unique charm among early Chinese ceramics.
Collecting miniatures was a favorite among early aristocracy. Among the influences were the miniature Mogul paintings that flowed into
Eastern Europe in the 1500’s. This affection moved quickly to The Netherlands and thence into England during the reign of Mary II
(1689 -1694). It is said that Her rooms at Kensington Palace were decorated with many small vases on displayed on gilded brackets
and on little ledges, and on any and every available surface. Daniel Defoe (1660-1731) stated that "The Queen (Mary) brought in
the custom or humour, as I may call it, of furnishing houses with China-ware, which increased to a strange degree afterwards,
piling their China upon the tops of cabinets, scrutores, and every chymney-piece, to the top of the ceilings, and every setting
up of shelves for their China-ware, where they wanted such places, till it became a grievance in the experience of it,
and even injurious to their families and estates".
I have also read that the some of first museums on the Continent were begun to house these small porcelain collections, as their owners
aged or died, and wanted the valuable porcelains to remain safe and honored in time. I cannot substantiate that information,
but it is indeed an interesting concept.
Click Below to View
OUR COLLECTION OF MINIATURE ("TOY") PORCELAINS
Click for More Information on Miniature Chinese Export Ceramics
(Left to Right) :
Diminutive Qianlong Rouge de Fer Coffee or Chocolate Cup, c1770
Pair of Kangxi Miniature Rouleau Vases, c1662-1722
Pair of Ming Iron Red Painted Teabowls, c1590 - 1620
Qianlong Figure of a Monkey, c1750
Qianlong "Cockerel" Coffee Cup, c1750-60
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For information, call (901) 761-1163 or (901) 827-4668, or
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M. Ford Creech Antiques & Fine Arts / 581 South Perkins Road / Memphis, TN 38117 / USA / Wed.-Sat. 11-6, or by appointment
Rare Chinese Export Miniature (Toy) "Valentine" Teabowl & Saucer, Early Qianlong, c1745, in semi-eggshell porcelain