|Mudlarking Finds: Chinese Export Porcelain with hand drawn flowers|
Pretty common on the foreshore I can never pass them by and pick up 2-3 pieces on each visit.
These shards were usually hand painted with deceptively modern patterns.
|Mudlarking Finds: Dreamy porcelain|
China was the first nation to discover the art of making porcelain possibly as early as 1300.
In the 16th Century Portugal began trading with China, importing Ming Dynasty blue and white porcelain, heralding the 300 year European love affair with porcelain. The Chinese began making porcelain specifically for the European market hence the term Chinese Export Porcelain and the first European port opened in Canton in 1556. Porcelain was a handy bit of cargo, placed in the ships hulls it provided ballast and was unaffected by water, allowing the more vulnerable silks, teas and furniture to be stored higher up.
In the early 1600s the Dutch captured two Portuguese ships laden with porcelain and other goods. The cargo was auctioned off, the buyers of this ‘white gold’ the European elite including the Kings of France and England. The Porcelain craze had begun – among those who could afford it. It is hard to imagine how wondrous it must have been. Nothing like it had been seen before. The only pottery had been course earthenware. Chunky German stoneware was the most refined. Westerwald wasn’t on the scene until the late 17th century and I believe delftware of this time was rather crude. These gleaming, smooth, white painted beauties began to replace the aristocracy's silver tableware.
Homage is paid in the 17th century Dutch still life paintings with Chinese export porcelain sometimes placed centre stage.
England and Holland began trading with China themselves, with each country's East Indian Company playing pivotal roles. In the
middle of the 17th Century, civil war in China caused trade to shift
to Japan. Porcelain trade was re-established with China again in the late 17th
|Pieter Gerritsz van Roestraten 1627-1698 (It's About Time)|
There are a bewildering array of types, Kraak, Famile Vert, blanc de chine, famille rose and patterns canton, mandarin, rose medallion, encre de chine, Fizhugh and bird and butterfly, all associated with particular periods.
|Kraak Porcelain Bowl 1573-1620 (Pater Gratia Oriental Art)|
|Kraak Porcelain Saucer 1575 - 1615 (Pater Gratia Oriental Art)|