Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Saucer of the Week: Chinese Export Laurel Wreath

Well, enough about Marta and her shenanigans.  I'm now going to focus my attention on a topic more precious and pretty: porcelain!

This exceptionally handsome plate was made in China, circa 1790-1810, for export to the American market.  Unlike Chinese export porcelain destined for the European markets, this piece is not decorated with a coat of arms, but rather with painted initials.

I believe this dish was an "off-the-rack" piece, left blank in the middle and meant to be decorated after its production with the monogram of the American who ordered a service of it to be shipped home from China.

So, what is it that I like about this lovely little plate?  Although I like the gilded border around the rim—of grapes and grape leaves—it is the classical laurel wreath bound with a magenta ribbon in the center of it that sings to me.

Boy bought this sublime piece of porcelain at a New York Ceramics Fair during Antiques Week years ago when it was still held at the National Academy of Design, on upper Fifth Avenue.  I'm not exactly sure how much he paid for it, Dear Reader, but I don't think it was more than $100.

I'm rather fond of it, I must admit.

Photograph by Boy Fenwick


  1. still have Marta on the mind here, a riveting story for sure.

    Do you use this plate or is it part of your collection? Love the worn gold and the wreath...would look lovely with your french porcelian

  2. Hello Reggie:
    You describe this as a 'handsome' item, a description with which we should totally concur. It has, we feel, a masculine air about it - perhaps the central wreath of laurel which puts one in mind of Caesar!

    A lovely possession in every respect.

  3. The excitement never stops here in Reggie darling land....I mean from the basement to the porcelain pantry.
    What are Reggie's initials....I think PvE needs to create a custom laurel wreath monogram for you or in honor of Marta. Everyone needs their own monogrammed porcelain made in China.

  4. There's a purpley Spode of the early 1800s that reminds me of this pattern. I so agree with you... a gorgeous plate.

    Now that I write a food blog, I have become terribly fond of picking up orphan pieces of ancient china. Although whole sets would be insanely expensive, singles with a chip here or there are terribly reasonable (and photoshop makes them perfect again). I love my collection and it makes my food look better!!!

  5. With the changing demographic, and a bit softened edges a new sit com is currently in production set in the retro 50s of a mad capped maid and her humorous shenanigans set in a city allowing for basements in a neighborhood being rehabbed with tax credits allowing for the crumbling inner city core to be gentrified. Is that unbelievable as a concept... well pigs found diamond necklaces in cereal boxes in Hooterville.

  6. Hello Reggie, That ribbon provides the perfect touch of color, and I also like the details of the berries (I assume they are gilded; it is hard to tell from the picture).

    Another especially appealing element, once I "clicked to enlarge", has to be that contrasting with the rather staid arrangement of grapes and leaves are all those wild tendrils.
    --Road to Parnassus

  7. What an absolutely exquisite plate this is. It exudes classicism, something I personally find very appealing in decorative objects. I'm sure it looks quite wonderful at Darlington House among your other treasures.

    How wide is this plate Reggie? I can imagine being served a slice of scrumptious cake from it, only to be delighted at finding a beautiful wreath among the errant crumbs - quite a yummy treat for the eyes!

  8. I can see why Reggie; it is a gorgeous plate with lovely details.

    Much reading to catch up on; as I was back in the hospital now housebound until Oct 1 at least.

    2012 Artist Series

  9. Hello Reggie,
    As a porcelain collector myself I like this plate. I agree that it is handsome rather than pretty and with its laurel wreath and the stylised vine and grapes border, I think it has a certain Grecian air to it.
    You say that it was made in China as an export item. Were there any markings on the back? I know they usually don't but I am curious.
    By for now

  10. Lovely saucer. I must admit to a weakness for porcelain, and have far more of it than I need, but it is fun and I use it. And when pieces are as lovely as this saucer they do give one so much pleasure, do they not?

  11. Beautiful piece! Love great china, brings back many fond memories!
    Have a great weekend! Love following your blog
    Jamie Herzlinger

  12. Reggie as always another great find by a well trained eye. Anything with a laurel wreath makes my heart sing.

  13. I adore your saucer posts. It would be wonderful to see all of these saucer photos together, like a mosaic, and look for the things they have in common.

  14. I too love your saucer Reggie

    Have just got back from Melbourne where I saw the fantastic Napoleon exhibition. Gold, furniture, and laurel wreaths galore... fantastic.

    There was even Mme Berenger's dress (tiny) and red velvet train she wore to Napoleon's coronation.

    I know you and Boy would have loved it


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