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An ovoid-shaped Chinese Ming period porcelain jar painted in rich blue around the sides with two five-clawed dragons among clouds and with rocks and waves below. Round the shoulder a stylised shou (long life character) seems to grow out of the lotus scrol

Extraordinary Chinese and Japanese Works of Art in the Royal Collection

Johan Joseph Zoffany (Frankfurt 1733-London 1810)

Queen Charlotte (1744-1818) with her Two Eldest Sons c.1765

RCIN 400146

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Like many royal consorts, Queen Charlotte (1744–1818), wife of George III (1738–1820), cultivated a taste in Eastern arts or 'chinoiserie'. One celebrated connoisseur, Horace Walpole (1717–97) noted how she had filled Buckingham House (now Palace) with Chinese ceramics, 'applying them above door-cases and fitting them on brackets with mirrors'. This portrait, by Zoffany, shows the queen at her dressing-table with two tall, Chinese painted, terracotta nodding-head figures displayed in the background. Such was the queen's interest in all things Chinese that she and her daughters spent many hours at Frogmore House in Windsor practising the Eastern-inspired art of lacquer painting.