Chinese porcelain plate from Compagnie des Indes representing Duff, Director of Compagnie des Indes and his wife. Jingdezheng kilns.
China, Yongzheng (1723-1735) Period, circa 1730
Diameter : 23 cm (9 in.).
Minor chips and small flaking on border.
This decoration, certainly one of the most famous commissions from the Netherlands, depicts a Western-style couple holding arms and strolling in a Far Eastern Garden, identifiable with the railing and pierced rock in the foreground. They are accompanied by a dog, a kind of hound, whose race was introduced in the Far East in the early 17th century, as evident with the paints and lacquers from that time.
Two objects with similar decoration are in the collections of major European museums such as the Cité de la Céramique in Sèvres (inventory number 8785 MNC), the Guimet Museum (inv. G. 287), the British Museum, and the Royal Museums of Art and History in Brussels.
For two identical objects, consult:
François & Nicolas Hervouët, La porcelaine des Compagnies des Indes à décor occidental (Porcelain from Compagnies des Indes with Western Decoration), 1986, p. 152. Sotheby’s, June 18, 1988, lot 1538.
Both figures have led to different interpretations, none of which are certified for no engraved pattern has been found so far. The first hypothesis is that it is a representation of Louis XIV and Madame de Maintenon or the Marquise de Montespan, identification is close to various figures sculpted in the round in Chinese porcelain from the Compagnie des Indes. Some researches have also seen "married Frisian" an act dismissed by AL den Blaauwen at the Rijksmuseum.
Williamson (1910) suggests, however, a more plausible hypothesis. It would be a representation of the Governor General of VOC, Diederik Durven (whose Chinese diminutive was Duf), serving from 1729 to 1732 and his wife, Anna Catharina de Roo.
The decorations, listed on the first porcelain exports for the Dutch market, appear well-known in several versions. The first, presented by our plate in the Imari palette (red, blue, green, and black accented with gilt); the second only in underglaze blue; and the last being the rarest, only painted in red, green, and black.
Finally, this rare decoration is also known under a commission, illustrated in the reference book by François and Nicolas Hervouët (p. 153).
D.F. Lunsingh Scheurleer, L’armoire hollandaise aux porcelaines de Chine, pl. 49.
D.S. Howard, J. Ayers, China for the West, vol. I, pl. 127.
M. Beurdeley, La porcelain des Qing, fig. 101.
D.S. Howard, The choice of the private trader, pl. 37.
C. Coleman Brawer, Chinese Export Porcelaine from the Ethel Liebman and Arthur L. Liebman Porcelain Collection, Elvehjem Museum, p. 72
F. and N. Hervouët, Y. Bruneau, La porcelaine des Compagnie des Indes à décor occidental, pl. 7.30.
R. Krahl, J. Harrison-Hall, Ancient Chinese Trade Ceramics from the British Museum, London, pl. 22.
C. J. A. Jörg, Chinese Export Porcelain, Chine de Commande from the Royal Museums of Arts and History in Brussels, pl. 76
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