An 18th Century Chinese Export Porcelain Dish Based on Designs by the German Botanist Maria Sybille Merian, c.1740.

Chinese Export Porcelain botanical `Merian` porcelain plate, early Qianlong c.1740-1750. The of this 18th century Famille Rose porcelain shallow dish is painted with a butterfly or moth hovering over two large caterpillars on a spray of iris and clematis. The cavetto and border with intricate strapwork designs.


In very good condition, the enamels and gilded border on the blue ground have some wear.
Diameter : 22.4 cm (8 3/4 inches).
Stock number



Maria Sybille Merian (1647 – 1717) :
This design is based upon elements taken from four plates in part three of Merian`s Caterpillar Book, Published in 1717, but is not by Merian herself (it is not from her `sketchbook` as is often claimed ). The German Botanist Maria Sybille Merian (1647 – 1717), who in 1699 travelled to Surinam, where she collected specimens and made drawings, these were published in 1705 as `Metamorphosis Insectorum Surinamensium`. Merian was the first person to make study and make scientific drawings of moths. Although the design appears close to some of Merian`s drawings and prints no exact match has been found. Another contender for this distinctive design is the Dutch artist Cornelis Pronk but it not among the known designs commissioned by the V.O.C. (The Dutch East India Company). This `Merian` design occurs in Famille Rose as well as blue and white, clearly there were several services made over a number of years. I am greatly indebted to Charlotte Jacob-Hanson for her corrections of this text based upon her research : See `The Magazine Antiques` in New York (Brant Publishers, August 2000).


A Blue and White Chinese Export Porcelain Botanical `Merian` Plate c.1740-1750.


Chinese Export Porcelain Botanical `Merian` Plate c.1740-1750.