Chinese porcelain: a Fanghu to the costly Mr Pronk

Published 9th April 2013

For collectors of Oriental porcelain with more modest pockets there are still plenty of interesting items to spend your money on, not everything is out of reach.

 a chinese porcelain taper stick after cornelius pronk circa 1740-50

A Chinese porcelain taper stick after Cornelius Pronk circa 1740-50 (FS18/469)

Take for instance the rather charming taper stick holder in the form of a chubby child’s arm. Although decorated in a rather garish palette it doesn’t look entirely Chinese, but Chinese it undoubtedly is. After a design by Cornelius Pronk, a topographical artist employed by the Dutch East India Company in 1734, this ‘chine de commande’ was initially popular but hideously expensive. A set of Pronk plates would cost the same as a house in Amsterdam. The original order for these taper sticks was in1740 – ironically the year that Pronk’s contract was terminated as it proved just too expensive for even the deepest of pockets.

 a chinese porcelain vase of fanghu form circa 1874-1908

A Chinese porcelain vase of Fanghu form circa 1874-1908 (FS18/483)

Another piece of Chinese porcelain worthy of note is the Gaungxu (1874-1908) mark and period Fanghu vase. Being of a traditional archaic bronze form, Fanghu translates literally to mean square base. A striking and bold shape typically under flambé and lavender tinged glazes is mentioned as being of a form used as an award of special merit to deserving individuals. I’m sure you’ll agree it is a beautiful thing although I’m rather amused at the idea of receiving a Fanghu as a thank you.

detail of fanghu vase showing shape and colour

Detail of Fanghu vase showing shape and colour (FS18/483)

Subscribe to catalogue alerts & news

Select your interests