Event

A Time and A Place: Views and Perspectives on Chinese Export Art

New exhibition

Update:

Due to the popularity of A Time and A Place: Views and Perspectives on Chinese Export Art, the exhibition has been extended by one week, now closing on Saturday 17 December. Open 10.30 am - 7 pm.
We are looking forward to your visit!

Celebrating our 30th anniversary, Jorge Welsh Works of Art will hold a commemorative exhibition in our gallery, during Asian Art in London. The exhibition A Time and A Place: Views and Perspectives on Chinese Export Art focuses on the representation of European buildings and landscapes, Meissen scenes and Chinese cities and landscapes on Chinese export porcelain and other painted mediums. The exhibition is not only about cultural exchanges between Europe and China, reflected in 18th century Chinese porcelains and works of art made for export, but also on the extraordinary skills of the talented Chinese painters that copied European sources, such as prints and different prototypes.

The 18th century saw the rise of "Views and Perspectives" as a theme in the hierarchy of the European arts. Representations of landscapes and the built environment were occasionally made to document the evolution throughout the time of an area of land. The increasing popularity of this subject was influenced by the ideal of "Picturesque", which desired a harmonic combination of different elements that fulfilled the condition of being agreeable to the eye, and required to create a ‘picture’. It was also influenced by Antiquarianism, which developed as a consequence of a general curiosity for the past. It is in this commemorative, curious and documental sense that this type of representation was commissioned to be painted on Asian works of art for the Western markets. It was commissioned for various purposes, such as a family remembrance, status, religious and political token, or simply as a souvenir. The sources for these scenes are mostly prints, but medals and European ceramic prototypes were also copied in various degrees of accuracy.

This exhibition will focus on those views and perspectives that show buildings in their settings, extending chronologically through the late-17th until the late 19th century, and covering a range of works of art that are illustrative of interest in the subject as a type of cultural expression. Ranging from individual plates, dinner services, tea sets, punch bowls, mugs, snuff boxes, urns, cisterns, vases, and plaques made in porcelain, to folding fans, painted ivory plaques, lacquer, and canvas, these pieces are hybrid objects, both Chinese and European, becoming historical testimonies of artistic interactions between the two cultures.

One highlight of the exhibition is a rectangular wooden panel lacquered in blackand gold and decorated with a view of the peninsula of Macau seen from the northwest, dating from the first half of the 18th century. All the major landmarks along the peninsula are represented in detail, including some adjacent geological sites, such as the almost circular Ilha Verde on the left, placed in front of the peninsula formed by the isthmus, where Portas do Cerco is represented. To the right, still on the outskirts of the city, are some Chinese houses representing a small village. A panel decorated with an almost identical view of Macau within a gilt leaf scrolling ornamental border, probably made at the same time and in the same workshop as this example, is in the Museu Nacional de Arte Antiga in Lisbon. Other relevant piece is a porcelain punch bowl from the Qianlong period that depicts on one side a scene of Vauxhall Gardens, based on an engraving by Johann Sebastian Müller (1715-1792) after a painting by the English artist Samuel Wale (1721-1786), and on the other, the Foundling Hospital, based on an engraving dating to 1753, by T. Bowles (1695-1767) after L. P. Boitard (fl. 1733-1767). Both were fashionable places in London, the gardens from the late 17th century, and the hospital from the mid-18th century onwards.

Jorge Welsh explains what is so special about this exhibition: "While researching for the exhibition and the catalogue, a number of sources such as prints and engravings, for previously unidentified scenes painted in Chinese porcelain were discovered and will, in some cases, be presented for the first time alongside the actual pieces. Luísa and I have been putting together relevant works of art with architectural or landscaped themes since 2003, having amassed a collection of over 140 porcelains, paintings and works of art, 122 of which are illustrated and discussed in the 84 entries of the exhibition catalogue.”

Exhibition dates:

London gallery

4th – 11th November   9.30 am to 5 pm
5th November – Open Evening 5 to 9 pm
6th November Sunday – by appointment

Lisbon gallery

18th November - 17th December 10.30 am to 7 pm

 

We look forward to your visit!

 

RTP, the Portuguese public service broadcaster, came to our Lisbon gallery before the opening. Here's a sneak peek at what you can find in our exhibtion:  http://www.rtp.pt/play/p2242/e259729/as-horas-extraordinarias