DATE: 1723-1740 (made)
PLACE: China (made)
Europe (painted)
MATERIALS AND TECHNIQUES: Porcelain painted in underglaze and overglaze enamels, gilt

As tea-drinking became fashionable in Europe from the latter half of the 17th century, vast amounts of porcelain teawares were exported to the West from China and Japan. This porcelain teapot was originally made and decorated in China with blue floral motifs using the ‘pencilled’ (line-work) technique. Upon the teapot’s arrival in Europe, the surface was overpainted with gilding and red overglaze enamels. Over-decorating first appeared in Holland ca.1720 and continued in Britain well into the 19th century. Initially, this practice enabled merchants in Amsterdam to emulate the more colourful ‘Imari’ style Japanese porcelain, which was highly desirable but expensive at the time. This technique was later given the derogatory name ‘clobbering’ as Victorian scholars regarded the over-decoration as garish and a total disregard for the original Chinese blue-and-white designs.