Gotheborg.com

"Clobbered" export porcelain

Pictures Copyright Thomas Cleij 2001 To shed some more light on this interesting subject, I would like to refer to the orders of the Dutch East India Company (VOC) in the 18th century. They are excellently described by C.J.A. Jorg. Four different types of cups and saucers can be distinguished from the original VOC drawings and lists:

(1) Chocolate cups and saucers ("Chocoladegoed")

They often have one handle and sometimes a lid. Cups with two handles are quite rare (only ordered once by the VOC). Chocolate cups have approximately an identical diameter (including the handle) and height (a size of 2.75 inches is mentioned in 1761). Already in the 1730s pieces with handles have been shipped to the Netherlands. The pieces earlier posted by Ian certainly classify as early chocolate cups. Another example from around 1760: I have in my stock some chocolate cups with two handles from the 2nd half of the 18th century (1760-1770). If there is interest on the list I can try to make a picture and post it later this week.

(2) Coffee cups and saucers ("Koffiegoed") Two sizes exist: small ("enkel") and large ("dubbel"). In all cases the diameter, (3 or 3.75 inches respectively) is larger than the height (2.5 or 3 inches respectively). From about 1760, cups like these with handles have been shipped to the Netherlands. I have included a link to a picture of some coffee cups from the 2nd half of the 18th century.

(3) Tea cups and saucers ("Theegoed") Again two sizes, large and small. Large teacups have the exact same dimensions as small coffee cups and are therefore frequently confused. Small teacups have a diameter of about 2.5 inches and a height of 2 inches. However, to my knowledge 18th century teacups never have handles! I a sure I do not have to give a picture of a typical teacup and saucer.

(4) Caudle cups and saucers ("Kandeelgoed") Kandeel is a typical hot Dutch drink based on cinnamon and sugar. In the 18th century, for this drink special cups were ordered in China which are similar to coffee cups, but just a bit larger. They have been ordered sparsely during the 18th century. I am not 100% sure but a somewhat small example from the 1st half of the 18th century (1732 cargo?) might be the following (same size as a large coffee cup):

Traditionally we call in the Netherlands a different type of cups and saucers "Kandeel" cups. The first examples of these cups (without handles; often with lids) date from the 17th century (Japanese Imari and Arita). They are also frequently made during the reign of Kangxi (1662-1722), but they are absent in the majority of the 18th century cargo's (abundant 19th century Kangxi copies exist though). Their height is 2.5-3 inches. Here are some pictures of Kangxi examples:

I Believe similar items with lid were pres ent in the Vungtau cargo (ca. 1690) and a picture of a comparable item is present on the Gotheborg site:

We probably need to classify all these examples as chocolate cups without handles.

Altogether an interesting array of cups. It seems that the Dutch classification deviates in some spots from the one found in the English literature, summarized here by Ian. Of course the Dutch never imported custard cups (something typically English, can somebody e-mail me a picture of one?). Since we do have original Dutch drawings and specific sizes to accompany the mid 18th century order to China, the above classification has to be fairly correct. This to my surprise, as I would have classified quite some of these items differently if I wouldn't have studied the VOC information.

This information on clobbered porcelain are based on a post by Thomas Cleij, to the Gotheborg discussion list.

Sincerely,
Jan-Erik Nilsson

HOME Back to Chinese Porcelain Collectors Page


This information is given as an example of private conversation only and is not intended to be used as a promotion of any individual piece. All opinions are the authors and are given as such with all hazards of judging anything from a photo.

Copyright © Jan-Erik Nilsson, Göteborg 2001.