University Collections of Art and History

Object Record

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Catalog Number 2016.31.1
Object Name Plate, Soup
Description A scene of a pagoda and pavilions by a busy waterway is transfer-printed in underglaze blue on this soup plate, made by the Staffordshire potters John and William Ridgway between 1813 and 1830. Though they named the pattern "India Temple," the scene actually shows the Little Golden Mountain, a garden that was part of the Kangxi emperor's summer palace at Jehol, in Northern China.

Begun in 1703, Jehol, which is now known as Chengde, was home to a mountain resort used by the emperors of the Qing dynasty as an escape from the summer heat of the capitol. In 1711 the Kangxi emperor wrote a series of poems about the palace complex, which he had illustrated with views painted by the Chinese artist Shen Yu. His paintings were engraved by Matteo Ripa, an Italian missionary who introduced copper plate printing to China, who published Thirty-Six Views of the Imperial Summer Palace at Jehol between 1711 and 1713.

Ripa brought copies of his prints to England in 1724, and in 1753 they were republished as The Emperor of China's Palace at Pekin, and his Principle Gardens, as well as in Tartary, as at Pekin, Gehol and the Adjacent Countries by the London printers and publishers Robert Sayer, Henry Overton, Thomas Bowles, and John Bowles & Son.

It was almost certainly a copy of this book that John and William Ridgway's designer used as the design source for the scene on the plate. Not just a good example of a English adaptation of a Chinese scene, this plate also provides an interesting insight into how scenes of real places in China were disseminated, and abstracted, through the West.
Year Range from 1813
Year Range to 1830
Material Ironstone
Place of Origin Made by John and William Ridgway, Staffordshire, England, 1813-183
Artist John and William Ridgway
Collection The Reeves Center
On View No