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Cup and saucer

Cup and saucer

  • Place of origin:

    Meissen (made)
    Netherlands (enamelled)

  • Date:

    1715-1720 (made)
    ca. 1715-1730 (enamelled)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Meissen porcelain factory (manufacturer)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Hard-paste porcelain, thrown and enamelled in colours

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    Ceramics, Room 145, case 9, shelf 2 []

This tea bowl and saucer were made at Meissen but, unlike known Meissen pieces decorated in Japanese taste there are subtle differences, particularly in the palette, which indicate they were not decorated at the factory. They were in fact painted in the Netherlands and may have been part of an infamous scheme to dupe wealthy clients into buying imitations of Japanese porcelains which were very expensive and only imported in small numbers.

The plot centred on a French merchant named Lemaire who was spurred on by the demand for Kakiemon porcelain in Paris. He purchased undecorated Meissen porcelain from the factory warehouse in Dresden in 1728-29, and sent it to be decorated in Holland 'in the taste of old Japan'. He chose Dutch decorators as they were skilled at working on plain white Chinese porcelains and, of course, on their own homegrown earthenwares made in Delft. He arranged for the Meissen pieces he bought not to have the usual underglaze crossed sword marks applied to their bases, or to have the mark applied overglaze so that it could easily be ground off. Luckily the plot was discovered in 1731, by which time the Meissen factory was catering to the fashion for exotic porcelain by decorating its own wares with convincing Japanese designs, copied from authentic Japanese pieces in the Saxon royal collection.

Physical description

Hard-paste porcelain, enamelled in Japanese (kakiemon) style with garden landscapes

Place of Origin

Meissen (made)
Netherlands (enamelled)


1715-1720 (made)
ca. 1715-1730 (enamelled)


Meissen porcelain factory (manufacturer)

Materials and Techniques

Hard-paste porcelain, thrown and enamelled in colours

Descriptive line

Tea bowl and saucer of hard-paste porcelain, made at the Meissen porcelain factory, 1715-20, decorated in Japanese style in the Netherlands about 1715-30.


Hard paste porcelain


Wheel-thrown; Painted

Subjects depicted

Bamboo; Pine; Prunus tree


Porcelain; Ceramics


Ceramics Collection

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