Saucer-shaped dish decorated in polychrome enamels and gold, with cell-diaper border on the rim interrupted by shells and plumes surrounding twelve panels enclosing flying insects, fruit, or flowers, central scene of two ladies within a yew-tree arbor, three children near a pond containing three ducks, a fourth child looking on from behind the arbor, all flanked by a flowering peony on one side and a tree on the other, pendant tassels and trefoils on the reverse.
Clearly European in its coloring and topiary garden setting but featuring chinoiserie-like figures, this whimsical decoration is after the last of four designs prepared by Cornelis Pronk for the Dutch East India Company. (The third design, referenced in the records of the Company as "marked with the letter C," has not been found.) Completed in 1737, copies of the 'Arbor' design arrived in China two years later. By 1740, dinner services, tea sets, vases, basins, and sconces decorated with this design were shipped to Amsterdam.
The original drawings for this decoration are lost, but a c. 1730 watercolor by Pronk depicting a similar arbor scene is known. Moreover, as Jorg notes, the distinctive style, detailing, and anecdotal character of the 'Arbor' scene are very reminiscent of Pronk's earlier designs.
|Year Range from||1735|
|Year Range to||1745|
|Place of Origin||Made in Jingdezhen, China|
|Collection||The Reeves Center|
|Credit line||Gift of Michael Arpad|