Figure thumbnail 1
Image of Gallery in South Kensington
On display at V&A South Kensington
British Galleries, Room 52, The George Levy Gallery

Figure

1750 (made)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

Object Type
This English adaptation of a Chinese Taoist Immortal would have been purely decorative. Furniture designs of about the same date as this piece show similar figures displayed on wall brackets and on shelves built into elaborate carved and gilt mirrors. They were probably also displayed in small glazed 'china' cabinets and on chimney-pieces.

Materials & Making
The figure is made from a type of soft-paste porcelain containing soaprock. This was used in place of the china stone employed in true or 'hard-paste' porcelain of the Chinese type. It was mined under licence near the Lizard in Cornwall. Bristol was one of the first porcelain factories to use soaprock. Its use was noticed there in 1750, when it cost £5 a ton. 'Being so dear', wrote one observer, 'it must be much better than pipe clay'. The purple at the base of the figure is derived from manganese and was applied to the figure after the first firing but before it was dipped in glaze and the glaze fired on. Manganese is one of the few pigments that can withstand the heat of the first firing (around 1100-1150 degrees C), but it was very rarely used.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
Soft-paste porcelain, decorated in underglaze purple
Brief Description
Figure of Taoist immortal Lu Dongbin, soft-paste porcelain, decorated in underglaze purple, made by Lund and Miller, Bristol, England, 1750
Physical Description
Figure of Taoist immortal Lu Dongbin, of soft-paste porcelain. He is standing, bearded in a long robe, on a mounded base moulded with scrollwork in low relief, irregularly coloured with manganese purple blotches.
Dimensions
  • Height: 17.8cm
  • Approx. width: 6.77cm
Marks and Inscriptions
'Bristoll 1750' (Moulded in relief on the base at the back)
Gallery Label
British Galleries: The figure is copied from one made in the Fujian Province of southern China. Fujian potters specialized in undecorated white porcelains. The East India Companies imported such figures into Europe, where they were greatly admired and imitated. Unlike many Chinoiserie pieces, this figure is a close copy of a Chinese original.(27/03/2003)
Credit line
Bequeathed by Mr Wallace Elliot
Object history
Windlesham, C.H.B. Caldwell, 1931.
Subject depicted
Summary
Object Type
This English adaptation of a Chinese Taoist Immortal would have been purely decorative. Furniture designs of about the same date as this piece show similar figures displayed on wall brackets and on shelves built into elaborate carved and gilt mirrors. They were probably also displayed in small glazed 'china' cabinets and on chimney-pieces.

Materials & Making
The figure is made from a type of soft-paste porcelain containing soaprock. This was used in place of the china stone employed in true or 'hard-paste' porcelain of the Chinese type. It was mined under licence near the Lizard in Cornwall. Bristol was one of the first porcelain factories to use soaprock. Its use was noticed there in 1750, when it cost £5 a ton. 'Being so dear', wrote one observer, 'it must be much better than pipe clay'. The purple at the base of the figure is derived from manganese and was applied to the figure after the first firing but before it was dipped in glaze and the glaze fired on. Manganese is one of the few pigments that can withstand the heat of the first firing (around 1100-1150 degrees C), but it was very rarely used.
Collection
Accession Number
C.97-1938

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record createdMarch 27, 2003
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