Cup and Saucer
Cup and Saucer
2 1/2 x 5 1/2 inches
Wichita Art Museum, Gift of Mrs. Donna Evans Kingsbury in memory of Mrs. John L. Evans on her birthday, September 21, 1963
Not Currently on Display
About the Artwork
This charming example of Chinese export porcelain speaks to the efflorescence of trade in luxury goods, specifically decorative porcelain, and the expansion of aesthetic horizons between East and West that that occurred in the eighteenth century. Europeans first became acquainted with the manufacture of vessels and dinnerware in the exquisite materials of hard paste porcelain and brilliant color glazes when Portuguese and Dutch merchant ships entered the Chinese port of Canton in the sixteenth century. Over the next two centuries, the more they saw of the fabulous domestic goods produced in China the more Europeans yearned to possess such wares—and to emulate their manufacture in their own countries. By the eighteenth century the British and various European nations had initiated and developed their own factories for fine porcelain production. However, trade with China continued to flourish, leading to a vigorous East-West cross-fertilization of ideas in vessel design and surface decoration.
In the eighteenth century it also became fashionable for wealthy Westerners, including those in the American colonies to order personalized sets of porcelain dinnerware or hot beverage sets. The customer would place an order through the local representative of the East India Company or another dealer in foreign trade, submitting a design for the appropriate monogram and/or coat of arms to be reproduced on the porcelain. The Wichita Art Museum cup and saucer adorned with flowers, scrolls, and the monogram “TEB” is a survivor of just such a special order. This particular painted design with its emphasis upon the delicate English rose and the acanthus-leaf inspired lettering reveals the makers desire to please a distinctively Western taste.
This example of Chinese export ware recognizes the enthusiasm of a Wichita collector for 18th century European and Eastern porcelains, Florence Naftzger Evans (Mrs. John L. Evans). Mrs. Evans’s heirs bequeathed her collection to the Wichita Art Museum so as to provide a view of the evolution of Western aesthetic taste and of the origins of porcelain manufacture in the West.