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Trade card

  • Place of origin:

    London (engraved)
    England (printed)

  • Date:

    c.1764 (made)
    1743-1845 (published)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Darling, William (engraver)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    engraving and letterpress

  • Credit Line:

    Given by Mr J. Harvey Bloom

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    British Galleries, Room 53a, case 1

Object Type
A trade card was an advertisement, as well as a business card. It was also often used by the tradesman as a bill or receipt. This one is inscribed with a bill on the back and dated 'May 20 1764'.

William Hussey (active 1764) was a retailer and a dealer in porcelain. Such tradesmen were known as 'Chinamen'. They marketed their wares to the public, to export merchants and to other dealers. They usually sold a large range of ceramics including English china, Staffordshire pottery and Chinese porcelain, as well as glasswares and other luxury goods. On this trade card William Hussey advertises that he sells 'Japan Dressing Boxes for Ladies Toilets'. The term 'Japan' was used to refer to all lacquer goods, not only those from Japan.

Subject Depicted
The trade card has been decorated with Chinoiserie motifs. They include the two figures at the top, one with a pigtail, and the pagodas hung with bells. There is also a representation of a Chinese-style porcelain jar. Perhaps this style of decoration was chosen to emphasise the luxury aspect of William Hussey's trade, as well as advertise his stocks of expensive goods from East Asia.

Physical description

Bill-head or trade card, engraving and letterpress.

Place of Origin

London (engraved)
England (printed)


c.1764 (made)
1743-1845 (published)


Darling, William (engraver)

Materials and Techniques

engraving and letterpress


Height: 16.5 cm paper, Width: 20.9 cm paper

Object history note

Engraved in London by William Darling (active 1750-1800)

Descriptive line

William Darling. Engraved trade card for William Hussey, a London china and glass merchant and importer of Asian goods.

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

Victoria and Albert Museum, Department of Engraving, Illustration and Design and Department of Paintings, Accessions 1943, London: HMSO, 1956.

Labels and date

British Galleries:
Many of the larger English porcelain factories sold much of their output through London agents. William Hussey, for example, was an agent for the Bristol and Caughley factories. The distribution networks for all English ceramics were centred in London. [27/03/2003]


Engraving; Letterpress


Trade cards; Shopping; Printed pages & sheets; Black History; Ephemera


Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

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