White enamel decoration on top of white porcelain glaze. Unusual but popular during the early 18th century, Yongzheng period (1722-1735) and somewhat later. The term occurs in porcelain orders and porcelain auction descriptions of the time
The origin of the reference is to French "trapunto" or white needlework quilting textiles for which Marseille and the Provence in southern France were famous. These luxurious, hand-quilted fabrics were highly popular, why England sought to recreate this domestically. Prizes were offered to whomever could produce such a fabric.
In the early 1740's, a man by the name of Robert Elsden came forth with a way to reproduce a similar fabric on a loom. One that although woven, maintained a quilted appearance. Once the fabric became commercially available in the 1760's, England used the popularity of Marseilles quilting to promote their new product, calling it "Marseilles Cloth."
France, then wanting to maintain their identity of their hand-quilting, instead began to use the name "matlasser" meaning "to quilt" in French.
See also: Bianco-sopra-bianco