Here is a good example of the lengths that British businessmen went to in their efforts to compete with Chinese potters. Millions of pieces of porcelain were being imported into their country from China, and the local folks were unable to beat their prices, so some of them simply bought Chinese porcelain, added gilding and sold the items at a markup. “If you can’t beat them, join them.” So, not only did British companies sell Chinese porcelains and copy Chinese porcelains, but they also upgraded them for a profit. Often enough, on already-decorated pieces, the upgrade was simply to add gilding, but some workshops like the one run by James Giles (father and son) in London added colored designs to blank Chinese porcelain. On this example, the original black swags, flower sprigs and bouquet were overpainted with splashes of gilding, the edges were enhanced with gilding, and several gilded bands were added here and there where there was room. The fact that English leafy clumps ended up right next to Chinese sprigs in contrasting styles didn’t seem to bother anyone. The spout and handle were also enhanced with gilding. In addition, this particular shape of teapot (though not the design) was closely copied at the Caughley and Worcester factories, providing more links to understanding the British strategies of marketing ceramics in this period. So this teapot has a great history—it is a microcosm of the porcelain trade in the England of the 18th century. It’s also in great condition, with only very slight wear to the gilding and no chips or cracks. It proudly stands five and a quarter inches high.

A warm welcome! Please consider all our offerings, and feel free to inquire about more information. We’re always buying, so let us know if you have early porcelain items to sell.
Ceramics, Chinese Export, Decorative, Porcelain
China • Chinese

Laureate Antiques

Chinese Export Teapot C.1785 Black Monochrome Flowers with Gilding Added in England


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