Origin: China, Jingdezhen
Museum Purchase, Wesley and Elise H. Wright in memory of Mr. and Mrs. Henry Clay Hofheimer II and in honor of John C. Austin
Acc. No. 2012-79
Chinese export blue and white dish painted with a branch of cloves and one of nutmeg above a large pineapple complete with leaves, all within a narrow band of stylized clouds at the rim.
Label:The unusual design found on this dish is taken from Pierre Pomet's A Compleat History of Drugs, London, 1712, after the original drawings from the French version Histoire Generale des Drogues published in Paris in 1694. Botanical prints were rarely depicted on Chinese export porcelain and very few examples of this pattern survive today.
Saucers from a tea service decorated in this manner were recovered archaeologically from the wreck of the British East India ship, the Griffin, which sank off the coast of the Philippines on January 20, 1761. On its return voyage from China, the Griffin was laden with tea, spices, and porcelain.
Additionally, three plates from a dinner service were excavated from a privy in Philadelphia. The privy was associated with an early house at 13 Gray's (Morris) Alley. The privy was closed in 1750 therefore indicating that these plates were deposited prior to 1750, over ten years before the Griffin shipwreck. At the time of their disposal, the house was occupied by William and Patience Annis who were well connected in Philadelphia society including to James Logan. Annis was a Sea Captain who traveled regularly around the Atlantic world so he could have purchases the plates during one of his trips to England.
While the dish in Colonial Williamsburg's collection does not bear any specific history of use in eighteenth-century America, it is clear that this pattern was in use in at least once household in Philadelphia and this pattern was part of the larger English trade in Chinese porcelain.
Provenance:Purchased at auction from Christie's New York, January 23, 2012, Lot 411.