- Museum number
'Famille rose' water fountain and lid with chinoiserie figure medallions. The massive water fountain and its domed cover are decorated with two chinoiserie figure medallions in elaborate shaped rococo frames, one showing a lady holding a saucer, dressed in a gold-patterned blue robe and red slippers, the other a gentleman in a crenellated hat, a purple robe with golden pagodas, and red slippers, who is seated cross-legged and smoking a long clay pipe. The medallions are surrounded by frames of rose-pink diaper on a ground of turquoise, with purple diaper with scallop shells at the shoulder and with flower garlands at the foot. Below one medallion the fountain is pierced with a hole for the attachment of a metal tap.
- Production date
- 1735-1740 (circa)
Diameter: 43.50 centimetres (Jar (widest point))
Diameter: 43.50 centimetres (Jar)
Diameter: 14.50 centimetres (Lid)
Height: 59.60 centimetres (Jar)
Height: 73.40 centimetres (Lid and jar)
Height: 26 centimetres (Lid)
Weight: 25 kilograms (Jar and lid)
Weight: 23 kilograms (Jar)
Weight: 2 kilograms (Lid)
- Curator's comments
- Harrison-Hall and Krahl 1994:
This water fountain is believed to have been designed by the successful Dutch painter Cornells Pronk (1691-1759) who between 1734 and 1738 was commissioned by the Dutch East India Company to produoe designs for Chinese porcelain to be made at Jingdezhen. According to the records, he supplied designs on four occasions and in return received an annual salary from the Company of 1200 guilders. This generous remuneration reflects both the fact that he worked exclusively for the Company and his status as an established artist of topographical scenes and portraits. He did not, as far as we know, produce designs for European ceramic manufactories. The directors of the Dutch East India Company were hoping that porcelains made after Dutch designs would sell better in the Netherlands than Chinese-designed pieces. However, Pronk's employment lasted only three and a half years until the venture was abandoned as being non-profitable. Only two of Pronk's watercolour designs drawn for the Company are extant, one known as 'The Parasol Ladies' and the other as 'The Three Doctors", and both are kept at the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, Netherlands. The decoration of this water fountain relates closely to Pronk's design 'The Three Doctors' which shows similar figures, border motifs, diaper-work, and a similar colour scheme; examples from a tea service are in the Musees Royaux d' Art et d' Histoire, Brussels, Belgium (Hong Kong, 1989, no. 50). In shape it is identical to a water fountain with a related design, 'The Four Doctors' (Howard and Ayers, 1978, vol. I, p. 294). Water fountains designed by Pronk measured, according to the Company records of 7th March 1735, 68.9 cm in height and 45.5 cm in width (Jorg, 1980, pp.53-4) which is approximately the same size as the present piece. Such fountains were ordered together with similarly decorated oval basins to be used as sets for washing hands after a meal. A slightly smaller water fountain with the same decoration is in the Princessehof Museum, Leeuwarden, Netherlands (Harrisson, 1986, no. III) and a matching basin was formerly in the Ionides collection (Sotheby's New York, 29th January 1987, lot 461).
Several other related designs are attributed to Pronk on stylistic grounds, such as 'The Arbour', 'The Violet Plume' (BM Franks. 588A), 'The Handwashing', 'The Archer', 'The Flame Dancer' and 'The Phoenix' (Howard and Ayers, 1978, vol. I , p. 294). Apart from water fountains with basins, dinner services, tea services, and garnitures were produced in blue-and-white, 'imari' and other polychrome palettes with designs attributed to Pronk.
- Not on display
- Exhibition history
1994, Taiwan, National Museum of History, Ancient Chinese Trade Ceramics
1995 27 Jan-26 Mar, London, BM, G91, East Meets West: Chinese Trade Ceramics in the British Museum
2008, Sep-Nov, Osaka, National Museum of Art, 'Self and Other'
2009 Feb 7-Mar 29, Hayama, Museum of Modern Art, 'Self and Other'
2012 22 Jun-2013 6 Jan, Beijing, National Museum of China, ‘Passion for Porcelain’
- Registration number
- Additional IDs
Miscellaneous number: OA+527