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