Sunday, May 29, 2011

Saucer of the Week: English Imari

This week's "Saucer of the Week" essay is being posted right at the wire.  In case you didn't notice, my previous post regarding the use of what I consider to be the proper spoon and fork to consume one's dessert created a bit of a firestorm.  I've been busy responding to the interesting and thought-provoking comments that ensued.  What fun I have had!

But today is Sunday and the week is running out.  I must now get back on track and publish another post in my weekly series on the subject of saucers . . .

Today's featured saucer is English, and was, I believe, made in the first half of the nineteenth century.  I suspect that it is either Worcester or Derby, but it could be from another pottery altogether.  I am not such an expert as to be able to determine its origins beyond that it is English.  If you have greater knowledge of this saucer's origin, Dear Reader, I would be most grateful if you would please comment and enlighten me.

The decoration on this handsome saucer is done in imitation of Japanese Imari, with both an underglaze and overglaze applied decoration, including gilding.  The border is divided into six equal segments featuring branches of cherry blossoms alternating with cartouches containing pretty birds.  A large chrysanthemum appears in the middle of the plate.  The saucer is unmarked and measures 5 3/8 inches in diameter.

For the life of me, I cannot remember where I got it.  I don't think I paid all that much for it.

I admire this saucer for the vigor and brilliance of its decoration.  It sits on my bedside table at Darlington House, where it adds a welcome jolt of happy color to the room and pleases me whenever I see it.

Photograph by Boy Fenwick


  1. Hello Reggie:
    In our view, we should be drawn towards late C19 Royal Crown Derby, but we are no experts and would bow to other dfferent opinions.

    Whatever, it is definitely a most attractive piece. Years ago we were tempted by an almost complete dinner service in an Imari pattern which we saw in an antique shop in Yorkshire. Sadly, at the time, it was beyond our means.

  2. Good morning, Reggie.

    The most beautiful saucer yet, as far as I am concerned! I find Imari very appealing and in fact the Celt and I were looking the other day in Niemans (not that he knew it at the time) at replacing the present dinner service with Imari. Wonderfully rich and so redolent of the growth of Empire.

  3. Reggie, years ago (before I had an interest in china) I saw an great display at the Smithsonian that featured European imitations of export imitations of European designs! It was fascinating to see the subtle differences with each alternation. I wouldn't be a bit surprised if the Japanese didn't take the English version of your Imari one step further.

  4. I enjoyed your last post -- I love it when you stir things up! But I must say that looking at your lovely saucer just makes me happy!

  5. Oh, I do love Imari; this saucer is really beautiful. And I really enjoyed reading the firestorm of comments--spoons, who knew?!

  6. Having previously been made aware of Reggie's love of the color orange, I was betting there'd be at least one English Imari saucer in the collection. And a pretty one it is. The only thing I do not like about pieces such as yours is that they were made over such a long period of time and by so many different manufacturers that, unless they're well marked (and few are), their origins usually remain forever mysterious. On the other hand, pieces such as these are readily available and convenient for one who wishes to assemble an inexpensive yet attractive set of dinnerware, as various pieces made by different manufacturers are often close enough in design, color & appearance that few diners would notice that their dinner plate is in fact slightly different from their teacup or dessert plate.

  7. Reggie a gorgeous saucer and I do love Imari. I sold a great deal of it years ago the The Ethnics Folk Art Gallery. You can tell we had much more than "Folk Art"

    Art by Karena

  8. Hello Regie,

    You must have a wonderful collection of antiques.
    Thanks for the history. Thats makes my happy that there are still a lot of people how's loves this kind of china.


  9. Dear Reggie, the blue and the orange look like Crown Derby to me. I love your saucer collection xx

  10. Could be Derby but a similar pattern was also produced by Coalport and Spode c.1820

  11. Also Chamberlain Worcester


Please do comment! I welcome and encourage them, and enjoy the dialogue.

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