Teapot and presentoir

DATE: ca.1780 (made)
PLACE: China (made)
MATERIALS AND TECHNIQUES: Porcelain painted in overglaze enamels

Alongside porcelain decorated with family crests or religious scenes, porcelain decorated with ships and marine views were very fashionable and made to order in Jingdezhen and Canton, from the 1730s to the early 19th century. Captains, merchants and passengers aboard British and Dutch East India Company ships would commission enamelled illustrations of the ships on which they would have spent months, if not years. These porcelain wares would essentially become keepsakes of the journeys and likely sparked conversation around the dinner or tea table. This teapot and presentoir (presenting tray) are painted with a three-mast sailing ship bearing British flags, and were thus likely commissioned by a member of the British East India Company.