Chelsea Porcelain Factory ( British, 1745 - 1784 )

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General Description

Chelsea Porcelain Factory, established in 1743 by Charles Gouyn and Nicolas Sprimont in Chelsea, London, was a well-known producer of porcelain wares and figurines in the 18th century. The factory emerged in response to a growing desire for Chinese porcelain in England, which had been imported into Europe throughout most of the 17th century.

Wares and figurines from the Chelsea factory are conveniently distinguished by the respective marks of four periods: the triangle period (1743–49/50), the raised anchor period (1750–52), the red anchor period (1752–56), and the gold anchor period (1758–70). This plate in the Dallas Museum of Art's collection bears a gold anchor mark on the reverse, which means it was created sometime after 1756. The gold anchor period of production at the Chelsea Porcelain Factory is characterized by rich colors and elaborate rococo gilding, mirroring aesthetic trends in the plastic arts, as embodied by works like Jean Baptiste Marie Pierre's The Abduction of Europa (1989.133.FA) in the Dallas Museum of Art's collection, dating to around the same time.

Like paintings, sculpture, and architecture of this style, Rococo porcelain wares often feature strong curves and flourishes accentuated by gilding. Floral decoration, foliage and exotic birds were particularly popular decorative motifs, expensive and largely produced for wealthy patrons. Shaped borders of colored grounds with waved or curled inner edges appear on Gold Anchor tea, coffee, and dinner wares, and the gilding is superimposed in infinite variety-as scrolls, foliage, flowers, birds, or trellis work. In this example, the floral composition is balanced, but not symmetrical, embracing a florid roccoco style that does not overwhelm.

Heather Bowling, Digital Collections Content Coordinator, 2017.

Drawn from

Elizabeth Adams, Chelsea Porcelain, second edition, (London: The British Museum Press, 2001), 144-172.