A pair of Chinese export urns made for the English market

Qianlong period, 1736-1795, China

Height 16 cm

The urns are of classical European form, slim and oval – with handles that rise from the shoulders and swoop down following the contours of the body; the neck is waisted, and the vase supported on an oval stepped foot and square base. Each urn is decorated with the same design; blue acanthus leaves surround the moth and lower body with vertical gold and white strips that descend from the neck down to the foot.

The oval plaques to the centre of each face are painted in famille rose tones. One side of each urn depicts two 18th century European figures in a panoramic landscape, and the reverse depicts two classically dressed European figures, seen close up in a landscape. The painting is of very fine quality – minutely rendered with much of the landscape executed in a pointillist technique.

Similar Examples

Both a Duesbury Derby porcelain prototype and a Canton enamel example can be seen in the collection of the Victoria and Albert Museum, London.

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