A Rare London Decorated Chinese Export Porcelain Cup, Probably James Giles Workshop c.1758 – 1763

A rare London decorated Chinese export porcelain coffee cup decorated with a Italianate landscape in iron-oxide, perhaps James Giles workshop c.1758-1763. The plain cup is Qianlong period c.1760.


There are two rather large chips near the handle ; on which is shallow, to the exterior below the rim c.6 x 5 mm. The other on the rim c.10 x 3 mm.
Height : 6.2 cm (2 1/2 inches)
Jonathan Bennett, 24th October 1998.The Helen Espir Collection of European Decorated Chinese Export Porcelain : "a member of the Oriental Ceramic Society and collector, with her husband. Having made a typical collection of Song and provincial Ming blue and white, they decided to concentrate on what used to be called `clobbered` porcelain. She is the author of the standard work on the subject, European Decoration on Oriental Porcelain,2005, the first to examine the work of European decorators on Chinese porcelain throughout the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, focusing on enamellers in Holland, Germany and England. She has learned Chinese." From Provenance ; Collectors, Dealers & Scholars : Chinese Ceramics in Britain & America (Roy Davids, Dominic Jellinek, Privately Printed, 2011. ISBN 978-0-9570148-0-0).
Stock number
Exhibited and Published : The Early James Giles and his Contemporary London Decorators (Stephen Hanscombe, Stockspring Antiques. 2008) page 126, illustrated on page 127 plate 136. And Exhibited and Published : James Giles, China and Glass Painter, 1718-1780. (Stephen Hanscombe, Stockspring Antiques. 2005) no page number, plate 105.



Stephen Hanscombe About This Cup :

The catalogue entry by Stephen Hanscombe in : The Early James Giles and his Contemporary London Decorators (Stephen Hanscombe, Stockspring Antiques. 2008) page 126, states "In the past a number of pieces of Worcester porcelain painted with landscapes in iron red were attributed to the Giles workshop, but these are now thought to be the work of other outside decorators. However, this cup has gilding strongly associated with the Giles workshop, and it is probably from a Giles service with this rare form of decoration".

English Decoration on White Chinese Porcelain :
This type of English enamel decoration on Chinese export porcelain should be seen in a different way to what is referred to as `over-decorated` or `clobbered` porcelain. Those terms refer to Chinese porcelain that was imported into Europe as finished articles, but were either too plain for merchants to sell or their profits could be enhanced by adding enamels over the existing Chinese decoration. The present example was plain white when it arrived in England, it would not have been salable and so no merchant would have ordered it to retail. However, James Giles must have ordered allot of white porcelain specifically for decoration at his workshop in London. The shapes ordered were the lasted fashion in Europe as was the decoration he added. To my mind this makes these objects separate and distinct from other Chinese porcelain, China only provided the blank `canvas` and even that was of a form dictated to by Europe. For this reason these objects could primarily be see as English, they would have been totally alien to the Chinese.