Here is a saucer that puzzles me. It might be an elegant example of the wholesale trade that went on between the Orient and Europe in the 18th century. Chinese porcelain was imported into England in prodigious quantities, millions of pieces per year. British manufacturers copied the designs of the Chinese porcelain on the porcelain they manufactured and sold their wares alongside the Chinese wares. Occasionally one of these British Chinese-type pieces, made in the style known as “Chinoiseries,” made its way from England to China. The Chinese potters, always eager to copy a good thing, started producing their own version of the British pattern, and shipped some of those off to England. In this case they even copied the pattern number (starting with No, meaning Number) that had been put on the back of a British piece! To my knowledge, only New Hall used pattern numbers in this way, and this is not a New Hall pattern, but it is a Liverpool pattern--quite accurately. In fact, I've added a photo of a saucer that appears to be Liverpool (Pennington's factory) in the same pattern--the last photo. But the saucer to me feels genuinely Chinese. It has the slightly pitted (orange peel) surface of Chinese porcelain, and rings like a bell when tapped. And why would a Liverpool factory put a New Hall-style pattern designation on the back? It's something of a mystery. The saucer is five and a half inches across and undamaged except for a slight ding to the rim at about four o'clock, colored to match, and a half-inch hairline on the back at the rim that doesn't show on the front. There is some slight crazing to the glaze on the inside--something more like Liverpool than Chinese export. You be the judge.
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