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Some of the most important examples of eastern arts now in the western world

Jingdezhen [Jiangxi Province, China]

Pair of pheasants pheasants 1740-60, mounts late 18th century

Porcelain painted in famille rose enamels and gilt; gilt-bronze mounts | 69.0 x 28.6 x 17.0 cm (whole object) | RCIN 2408

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A pair of Chinese porcelain pheasants painted in famille rose enamels with French gilt-bronze mounts. The ‘matched pair’ of birds, facing towards each other, each perched on a pierced hollow rock, the body resting against a pinnacle, one leg raised with claw clenched, the front leg set on a ledge. The breast is in bright iron-red and the neck feathers are brown and cream; the pale red head is topped by a turquoise crest, the pierced beak is gilt and the eyes are gilt with black pupils. The folded wing feathers are multi-coloured, with turquoise for the body feathers beneath, and various colours in the tapering tail. The rock is splashed with purple, rose-crimson and brown, with dashes of blue and green. The figures are set on rectangular, gilt-bronze bases with concave corners, the join between porcelain and gilt-bronze masked by a close-fitting metal cord, supported at the corners on spirally turned ball feet.

Following the popularity of the blanc de Chine figures imported into Europe by the end of the seventeenth century, a great variety of figures were produced to attract this market, many of them based on Western models.

Text adapted from Chinese and Japanese Works of Art in the Collection of Her Majesty The Queen: Volume I.

  • Creator(s)

    Jingdezhen [Jiangxi Province, China] (place of production)

    French (metalworker)

    Chinese (nationality)

  • 69.0 x 28.6 x 17.0 cm (whole object)

    69.0 x 27.0 x 17.0 cm (whole object)

  • Probably those acquired for George IV by Benois in Paris from Escudier in November 1815: 'Deux faisons de porcelaine de la China montés sur socles en Bronze doré - 480 F.'  Subsequently in the Long Gallery at the Royal Pavilion, Brighton, where they can possibly be seen on a chimneypiece in Nash's views of the residences, published in 1826. Described in the Inventory as ‘A pair of enamelled China Pheasants on Rock bases, mounted with ormolu plinths and ball feet fluted spirally, twenty seven inches. Sent to Buckingham Palace, March 1847.