Antique hand painted transitional pearlware saucer with distinctive heart shaped leaves and Chinese-style garden fence motif with large rock (see all Photos). This saucer dates from the 1780 to 1800 period, hence the c1790 mid-date. The label ‘Chinese-style’ for this decoration is used to convey that the motif on this saucer is part of a larger genre styled after Chinese Blue & White Export porcelain of the late 1700s, although English decorators stylized the motif and added their own styles. Still, many of these Chinoiserie style patterns can be traced back to their Chinese antecedents. Robert Copeland illustrates in his ‘Spode’s Willow Pattern and other Designs after the Chinese’ published by Bath Press Ltd. in 1999 (Third edition) numerous Spode transfer printed patterns that were copied from hand painted Chinese Export porcelain patterns. Copeland also displays two more elaborate examples of the Chinese-style garden fence motif on large pearlware dishes that also have Chinese temples or tea houses as their central element in addition to garden fences and serrated rocks (see Copeland ibid. page 16 Figures 9 and 10). The pearlware saucer shown in the last Photo is an example of the Chinese House pattern from about 1800 (the two items in Photo 9 are not for sale here).
Today, collectors and dealers referred to the ‘Chinese House and Fence’ pattern with various other labels that include T-F-H-F-T to refer to the repetitive occurrence of the Tree-Fence-House-Fence-Tree elements in many examples. But like many true Chinese hand painted patterns of the mid to late 1700s, the size or proportion of certain elements does not follow Western values of scale or perspective. And so in some Chinese renderings and English versions of the Chinese House and fence pattern, the vegetation is more akin to gigantic flowers than trees. For two examples sporting tree-like flowers, see Ivor Noel Hume’s ‘A Guide to Artifacts of Colonial America’, pages 127 and 129, Figures 45 and 46 (published by Alfred A. Knopf in 1970).
The earliest English versions of this Chinese house-fence motif are found on creamware and render the scene more realistically by also giving it a riverscape setting with a rocky shoreline being lapped by waves. Often, there is an isolated rock or two further out in the water. Examples painted by Staffordshire decorators after about 1790 are more highly stylized with repetitive sets of waves rippling in one direction (Ibid., cf. Noel Hume’s Fig. 45 to Fig. 46). The last photo (Photo 9) shows a pearlware saucer with a stylized Chinese house-fence motif from the 1790 to 1810 period (the two dishes in Photo 9 are not for sale here).
The saucer listed for sale here lacks the Chinese house and instead has a rock or boulder in the center. This garden fence and rock layout has also been called the ‘boulder and fence’ pattern by some other researchers (see Lois Roberts’ ‘Painted in Blue: Underglaze Blue Painted Earthenware, published by the Northern Ceramic Society in 2006; pp. 144-145). Antique examples in the Boulder and Fence pattern are not very common today and little is known about which potteries may have copied the motif. It occurs mainly on teawares such as cups and saucers, and bowls as well as a coffee cup, coffee pot and even a shell edged plate (see Roberts 2006: pp 144). This variant of the Garden Fence pattern seems to date from the 1780s and 1790s, rather than after 1800. No marked or dated examples have been recognized to date.
The saucer for sale here displays some important elements of House-fence genre that seem to occur before 1800. First, the paste-glaze combination on this saucer produces a creamware hue that renders the cobalt blue pigment a dark blackish blue where the cobalt is thickest (see Photos 5, 6, and 8). However, when the saucer is placed next to true creamware, the transitional pearlware aspect of its glaze is more clearly evident. Still, this saucer appears cream-colored under some neutral lighting (see Photos 4, 5, 6 and 7). The saucer’s glaze is blue to bluish-green where it puddles along the inside of the foot ring, and the saucer’s creamware hue helps to make the cobalt blue appear a very dark inky blue.
Second, there is no House between the two fences at the center of the motif on the saucer listed here. Instead, there is a strange round ball with a couple of ring halos encircling it that collectors call a boulder or rock. This ‘rock’ image has been found on other vessel forms and these examples also typically date between about 1780 and 1800. Situated in the sky above the rock on this saucer are three circles that form a triangle (see Photos 1 and 2). Many Chinese House renderings also have three or more circles situated in the sky above the house as the pearlware saucer in Photo 9 illustrates (the saucer in last Photo is not for sale here).
Other notable elements on this saucer include the heart shaped leaves on the vegetation along the right side of the design, the stylized pine needle clusters on the same plant (taken directly from stylized Chinese renderings of pine needle clusters), and the arc or swag border along the rim. Also, the pile of three perfectly round rocks visible in the water in the foreground (see Photos 2 and 3) is not common because it also lacks associated vegetation. Other Staffordshire Chinese House renderings have what Collectors have called ‘cannon balls’ with associated grass or low vegetation depicted out in the water.
In summary, this is a hard to find variant of a hand painted Staffordshire pattern depicting a Chinese garden fence along a rocky river bank. It required over 200 brush strokes to paint the scene with several different brush types ranging from fine pencil-thin tracers to broader shaders and mops. Thousands of Staffordshire cups and saucers decorated with variations of the Chinese House pattern were imported into the newly formed United States right after the American Revolution. These less costly wares were typically purchased by lower and middle class families. The saucer listed here and shown in the first eight photos is one of the less common patterns imported at the time. So if you are looking for a nice antique hand painted early transitional pearlware saucer that is more than 215 years old, then make sure you seriously consider this one while it is still available. And as always, this saucer also comes with my Docs Antiques 100% satisfaction guarantee or you may return it using my return policy (see complete Return Policy details farther below). You also have the option to design a customized lay-away plan for purchasing this item (and others when combining orders) by simply requesting the terms you wish to use and then let Doc take care of setting it up and combining any items together as requested (payment installments may be modified at any time should the unexpected ever arise, just let me know by email and I’ll change the due dates).
SIZE & CONDITION: This saucer stands 1 1/4 inches tall and measures 5 1/8 inches across at the rim. It weighs about 1/3 lbs empty and sits on a well defined vertical foot ring that has a diameter of about 2 7/8 inches (final shipping weight is estimated between 1.2 and 1.8 lbs). This saucer is in very good condition with little visible wear and no hairlines, stains, major scratches, repairs or restoration. The saucer has two chips located along the inside of its foot ring and neither one is visible from the exterior (the largest chip is shown in Photo 7 with a black pen pointing to it; the smallest chip is not readily noticeable). The rim has a production flaw where a kiln furniture contact pulled off some glaze and clay out of the edge of the rim (see Photo 8 where a pencil points to the production flaw along the rim). There are four more kiln furniture contact marks along the rim but none of these affected the rim body. The glaze is good quality and there is no crazing whatsoever (see all Photos). Of course, if the buyer is not completely satisfied, then she/he may return this saucer for a refund (see our complete return policy for all details as noted below).
SHIPPING: All US mainland buyers pay $8.70 for well packed USPS Priority Mail and this is an estimated savings of $2 to $4 since insurance and tracking are INCLUDED in this amount. Also, the insured postage you pay for delivery in the US is always less than our actual costs or we refund the difference back to you, and there are never any handling or packing fees charged for any Docs Antiques purchases. All international buyers will also pay less than the actual shipping costs for all verifiable locations outside the Continental US mainland. Send us your address and we will email you up to four options for sending this item to your country. We only use the USPS for International shipping to reduce broker fees and certain Custom’s charges when an item is over 100 years old. Please note that International import duties, taxes and other special charges are not included in the item price or our shipping costs and these additional charges are the Buyer's responsibility. We do offer a petition waiver for VAT relief on the behalf of the buyer which may help reduce certain import taxes when your country grants such petitions for items over 100 years old and the shipping option you select allows a waiver request to be included. Please check with your country's Customs Office to determine what these additional costs will be prior to purchasing this item -- thanks.
RETURN POLICY: Satisfaction and peace of mind are guaranteed for all Docs Antiques listings here on Ruby Lane. And this means that if the buyer is unhappy with a purchase, then she/he may return it by sending the item back undamaged and post marked within fourteen days of the original receipt of the item at your address for a refund (certain shipping costs are non-refundable, please insure the item upon return and add tracking). Items damaged by shipping in the US are covered by insurance and while this rarely happens because we double pack, we will gladly help you file your insurance claim should it ever be necessary. Of course, never send an item back that has been damaged by shipping since that will void the original insurance. Instead, contact us for help if you have any questions and we will gladly assist.
PAYMENT OPTIONS: Checks on US Banks (no temporary checks, all checks must have 9 digit routing code; item ships after check fully clears), USPS money orders, PayPal, or contact us with your verified address for more options. If you wish to use a credit card by way of PayPal, then that option becomes available after you submit a Ruby Lane purchase order. Once submitted, a PayPal icon will appear at the bottom of this listing and then you may proceed from there if you wish to pay via PayPal by way of a credit card. Or see our Terms of Sale for additional information should you wish to request a customized layaway plan customized to your own needs and situation (email me a request for a customized layaway). Thanks for looking and we invite you back again when you have more time.