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  • Place of origin:

    Jingdezhen (made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1745-50 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:


  • Materials and Techniques:

    Porcelain painted in enamels and gilt

  • Credit Line:

    Bequeathed by Basil Ionides

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    Ceramics, Room 137, The Curtain Foundation Gallery, case 13, shelf 7

The dish is decorated with a scene copied from the engraving Pèlerin de l"Isle de Cythère, made in 1708 by Bernard Picart (1673-1733), a French engraver active in Holland.

In Greek mythology the Ionian island of Cythera was a sacred place devoted to the cult of Aphrodite, the goddess of love. Visual representations of the myth of Cythera began to be circulated in France around 1700, usually showing groups of men and women embarking on boats or arriving at the island. Only two pictorial treatments, including Picart's, depict single couples. The theme also became popular in theatre performances of the period, presented at the Paris Opéra as ballets and at the popular theatres of the fairs (théâtre de la foire) as comedies. Jean-Antoine Watteau (1684-1721), who pioneered the genre of arcadian representations of love and fête galantes, reproduced the motif in the painting L'Isle de Cythère of circa 1708-09, and in two other versions entitled The pèlerinage à Cythera of 1717 and in 1718-19

Physical description

Plate, with slightly canted rim; painted in the centre is a scene with a figure pouring from a bottle into a shell-shaped cup held out by a lady with a ribboned staff, perhaps a shepherdess, with a figure of Cupid among clouds in front carrying a torch, and in the background is a seascape

Place of Origin

Jingdezhen (made)


ca. 1745-50 (made)



Materials and Techniques

Porcelain painted in enamels and gilt


Diameter: 23.2 cm

Historical context note

After an engraving by Bernard Picart; Pèlerins de L'Isle de Cythère

Descriptive line

Plate, porcelain decorated with the scene Pèlerin de l"Isle de Cythère, China, ca. 1745-50

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Kerr, Rose and Luisa E. Mengoni Chinese Export Ceramics London: V&A Publishing, 2011, p.63, pl.79




Painted; Glazed; Gilt

Subjects depicted

Torch; Staff (shepherdess's); Figures


Porcelain; Household objects; Ceramics


East Asia Collection

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