Chinese Armorial Porcelain presents a fascinating blend of information on Chinese export ware, heraldry, and taste and social history in this country during the eighteenth century.
As Sir Anthony Wagner, Garter King of Arms, writes in the foreword, "The social historian, no less than the herald, the connoisseur and the collector may learn much from this book.". The major part of David Howard's book consists of a dictionary of armorial porcelain services painted in China for the British market between 1695 and 1820. Pieces of nearly 2,000 services are illustrated by styles chronologically, the arms blazoned and the families described; and in all 2,900 services are recorded. Perhaps the greatest value of the book to the collector lies in its extensive analyses of this ware. The porcelain provides evidence which has made it possible for the author to date exactly the first appearance of famille rose and identify, almost as if with hallmarks, the detailed changes of style through the century. The book also covers the manufacture of this porcelain in eighteen century China, its rapidly rising values in the twentieth century, and very other aspects of the ware and its owners. David Howard has travelled widely in every continent as a merchant, and as a collector himself, with many years' interest in heraldry and the arts, he understands what other collectors feel. They will not, he says, 'always find that the service was made for Pitt or Clive, for a son of William Penn or the father of Edward Gibbon, but may be just as pleased to discover the arms to be the Hill impaling Dale, or Byde with Hope in pretence.".
Published by Faber and Faber Limited, London, 1974
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