Plate with "The Parasol Ladies” Pattern

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Compagnie des Indes ( Chinese , 1719 - 1794 )

DATE:
1715–1765
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General Description

In 1734, the Dutch East India Company hired the Amsterdam drawing master Cornelis Pronk (1691-1759) to create porcelain designs to be copied in China. Using for inspiration the motif of a woman with a parasol that sometimes appears on earlier blue and white porcelain, such as on a pair of cups and saucers in the Reves Collection, Pronk designed The Parasol Ladies pattern. The designs were sent to China in 1734 via Batavia (now Jakarta, Indonesia), and wares in the pattern were returned between 1736 and 1738 on dinner, tea, and coffee sets. Several color schemes exist, including underglaze blue, famille rose, and the iron red seen here. Because this pattern was extremely popular, more examples in iron red were ordered in the 1770s, and they vary only slightly from the originals. Other versions were produced in Japan in the 1730s and 1740s and by some European porcelain factories in the 18th and 19th centuries. However, due to the high cost of commissioning special orders, the Dutch East India Company's profits declined and they did not renew their contract with Pronk. Apparently his style of Chinoiserie was not different enough from actual everyday oriental designs to warrant Europeans paying its higher price.

This plate, probably made and decorated at Jingdezhen (Ching-tê Chên), reduces Pronk's palette to three colors: coral red, blue, and gold. The back is decorated with various insects in underglaze blue along its rim. It belongs to a group of similar ware known as Chinese Imari.

Adapted from

  • Dallas Museum of Art, Decorative Arts Highlights from the Wendy and Emery Reves Collection (Dallas, Texas: Dallas Museum of Art, 1995), 102.

  • Dallas Museum of Art, The Wendy and Emery Reves Collection (Dallas, Texas: Dallas Museum of Art, 1985), 194.

Fun Facts

Pronk's original drawing, preserved at the Rijksmuseum.

Web Resources

The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Read more about Chinese Export Porcelain