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The Art of Monarchy

A collaboration with BBC Radio 4 to mark Her Majesty The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee

Longquan, Zhejiang province [China]

Dish dish: 15th century, mounts: 1725-50

RCIN 35288

King's Drawing Room, Windsor Castle

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This bowl is the earliest known Asian ceramic in the Royal Collection. It was made at Lonquan, Zhejiang province, China during the fifteenth century (Ming dynasty). The magnificent gilt bronze mounts were added in France in the early eighteenth century, which thus combine the exotic dish with fashionable European mounts. By adding mounts, the plain, serene forms of Chinese porcelain such as this bowl could sit more easily within the lavish interiors favoured in eighteenth century France.

The bowl was probably acquired by the future George IV before 1812. George IV was a passionate collector, with a particular eye for porcelain of both European and Far Eastern manufacture. In Europe Chinese and Japanese porcelain was often embellished with gilt-bronze, or silver, mounts to reflect and enhance its high status in the luxury goods market of the day. Although this bowl was already mounted when George IV acquired it (along with many other French decorative arts in the wake of the French revolution), it is a tradition he upheld with many other pieces in the collection.

Chinese and Japanese Works of Art in the collection of Her Majesty The Queen is currently the subject of extensive research, to be published as a catalogue raisonne. The removal of the mounts was necessary for cleaning and conservation but also allows a more in depth examination of the individual components of the piece.