2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars
Not Just Blue & White Pottery, 23 April 2009
:: Book Summary ::
This catalogue is published on the occasion of the exhibition @Barry Davies Oriental Art, London (1997).
This is an important reference book on Japanese porcelains. 227 pages, 139 pieces illustrated in colour, text in English with Japanese foreword and introduction, bibliography, cloth, dust jacket, London, 1997. A presentation of one of the finest collections in the world.
Imari porcelains can basically be defined as underglaze blue, decorated in iron-red and gilt. It was very much the vogue in 18th century Europe amongst the aristocracy and wealthy merchant classes and was so popular that it was copied by all the major factories in Europe including those at Meissen, Delft, Chantilly, Worcester and Bow.
Richly illustrated, featuring 139 pieces of Ko-Imari porcelains from the private collection of Dr. Oliver Impey, an eminent scholar on Japanese porcelain. Including various pieces from the collections of the Duchess of Portland and the Drayton House, these fine pieces date from the mid-17th to the 18th centuries.
With only a few significant museum collections of this type, this presents a wonderful opportunity for scholars and enthusiasts alike to view and study from a unique and academic source.
From the foreword:
Japanese export porcelain has, inexplicably, been generally neglected as an area of serious study by all except an enlightened an(I far-sighted few. These few, however, include such eminent scholars as Soame Jenyns, Roger Gerry, Gerald Reitlinger, John Pope, H A Daendels, and, of course, Dr Oliver Impey.
Significant collections exist in only a few Museums, such as the Groninger Museum, the Het Princessehof in Leenwarden and the Rijksrnuseum, on the Continent, and the British Museum, the Victoria & Albert, the Ashmolean and the Fitzwilliam Museums in Great Britain. For research purposes, the records of the Dutch East India Company in Holland are of immense value.
Margaret, Second Duchess of Portland (1714-1785) was a passionate collector of Japanese porcelain. The Collections at Burghley, Drayton and Sherborne were formed with what were then contemporary and recently-imported pieces - very useful for dating purposes. However, the Duchess's collection was composed of pieces that were, at the time, almost antique. A compliment to her good taste and superb eye are the three dishes numbered 46, 47 and 48, in this catalogue. Also, No. 51 is a charming piece and a rarity - its enamelled counterpart is illustrated in colour in the pioneering Japanese Porcelain" by Soame Jenyns, colour illustration A'. Most of the Duchess's collection was sold in 1786, just after her death, but in 1970 the Auctioneers, Henry Spencer and Son of Retford conducted a sale of the remainder of her porcelains, consisting mainly of blue and white examples, which were removed from Welbeck Abbey in Nottinghamshire. Dr Impey purchased no less than twenty eight pieces from this auction, many of which have subsequently been included in exhibitions around the world.
The Impey collection also contains various pieces from Drayton House, formed by Sir John Germain and his wife Lady Betty Germain. An inventory of their porcelain was drawn up on 14th September 1 710. One of the most striking pieces from this collection exhibited here, is the early enamelled dish from the Kakiemon kiln, (decorated with a Ho-o bird in flight, above peony flowers and hedges (No. 92). It has a riveted repair, in itself a work of art, which illustrates how precious this piece was considered even then.
No introduction to porcelains would be complete without mention of that incredible collector, Augustus the Strong, Elector of Saxony and King of Poland, his vast collection of both Chinese and Japanese porcelains being housed in Dresden. He began collecting porcelain around 1715, and quickly acquired so much that he adapted a Japanese Palace' to house the collection, between 1729 and 1737. The inventory at Dresden was drawn up after 1721, where each piece was given a number, together with a code mark, engraved into it. These numbers are now referred to as Johanneum numbers. An example in this exhibition, from this famous Collection is No. 98.
A consequence of the Japanese `closed country' policy (sakoku), dating from the final Edict of 1639, was that the Portuguese were expelled and only Dutch and Chinese traders were allowed into the country; the Dutch were later confined solely to Deshima Island in Nagasaki Harbour. The Chinese trading station was nearby. The Dutch East India Company (Vereenigde Oostindische Compagnie, actively traded between Holland and all points East. Their headquarters were in Batavia, now modern day Jakarta, on the Island of Java, Indonesia. Soame Jenyns, the noted scholar of both Japanese and Chinese Art, records in his pioneering 1)00k on Japanese Porcelain, that the main trade in porcelains from Japan was with the Coromandel Coast of India, Ceylon, Persia, Siam and the Arab states of the Persian Gulf. Surat Malabar, Calicut, Mocha, Malacca, Masulipatam and Basra are all specifically recorded in the VOC Register. Even Allayon (Egypt) is noted as having ordered coffee and sherbet cups in 1665.
It has always been a mystery as to why very little Kakiemon porcelain was exported to Holland. The answer may well be that it was purchased by the Chinese, and sold from ports in the South China Sea to the English, French and Germans, where they commanded much higher prices far higher than even the best Chinese wares.
:: Book Contents ::
Wan Li Style
The Kano Style
Japanese Style for Europe
Kakiemon Kiln I
Kakiemon Kiln II
European Derived Design
The End of the Export Trade
Celadon and White
Imari with underglaze blue
Imari without underglaze blue
:: Book Review ::
Not just Blue & White
As with all Barry Davies Oriental Art books, this is well illustrated and accompanied with descriptions, size, date, marks, etc.