La Dame au Parasol: blue and white soup plate, Qianlong c.1736-40
A plate, c.1736-40, for the Dutch market, decorated in underglaze blue with the design La Dame au Parasol by Cornelis Pronk.
In the central scene an Oriental lady leans forwards to feed three birds of a European species by the bullrushes, including a ruff and a spoonbill, while her attendant provides shade with a fringed parasol. The honeycomb rim of both plates is interspersed with alternate cartouches of ladies and ducks, while the reverse of each plate is decorated with seven different insects in underglaze blue around the rim.
The designer Cornelis Pronk was appointed by the Dutch East India Company in 1734 to “make all designs and models to our satisfaction, of all such porcelain as will be ordered from time to time in the Indies, with all their colours properly put in, blue as well as gilt and other colours, and in various fashions …”. Only four original documented designs are preserved in the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, of which this design ’The Lady with the Parasol’ (‘A’) was the first. It was ordered in underglaze blue, Chinese Imari and famille rose, with a Japanese version also known. Unsurprisingly, the pattern was swift to enter the Chinese repertoire and variants continued to be made that had not been specifically ordered by the VOC. Although intended to represent a Chinese scene, both design and painting are completely ’Chinoiserie’ in concept, detail and execution.
See stock number 44060 for the enamelled / Imari example shown in the third image.
Jorg: Pronk Porcelain, pp.14-17 for the Lady with the Parasol design
Howard & Ayers, China for the West, pp.297-299 for various examples of this design
Howard, The Choice of the Private Trader, p.73.for the blue & white plate
Sargent, Treasures of Chinese Export Ceramics from the Peabody Museum, p.277 for the Imari plate.
Also in numerous other reference books on export porcelain.
Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam : for the original watercolour of the Pronk design