“Limehouse Class”*

Yongzheng / Qianlong, c1730-40, Decorated in London c1746-50





The globular teapot with existing underglaze blue mountain riverscape

later painted in London with bright enamels and gilt, 

 adding a merchant in a scarlet coat brandishing a sword,

and a barrel resting on green grass before tall towers (or sentry) and flowering trees;

the reverse with two red-coated gentlemen in a sampan among gilt rocks,

before an island with docks(?), a flowering trees, a gilt pagoda and a tower,

all beneath purple clouds; the cover decorated en suite;

label verso for Helen Espir, no. 663





*“Limehouse Class” :

These particular patterns with figures of merchants and buildings are reputedly copied from Meissen originals.

For further discussion see Bernard Watney, Limehouse Coloured Ware,

ECC (English Ceramics Circle) Transactions, Vol. 15, Pl. 1

Cf. Stephen Hanscombe, The Early James Giles and his Contemporary London Decorators, Pl. 21 for a similar teapot.

The same pattern is known on Limehouse porcelain (see below)


Provenance: Helen Espir Collection, no. 663. Purchased from Sotheby's, 18th June 1998, lot 2034;

A similar teabowl and saucer is pictured in European Decoration on Oriental Porcelain, Helen Espir, p. 224, Pl. 26,

the saucer in the collection of David Battie


Condition : Excellent ; a single minor nick to the underside of the lid, as shown below;

expected rubbing to some of the gilt, most in remarkably good condition


5” High x 7” Wide (spout to handle)






Please Inquire 




In Phillips Watney sale of September 1999, an English Limehouse sauceboat is illustrated (Lot 130 - above),

"painted on one side with a castle by a river, a barrel in the foreground,

and a man in sixteenth century European costume to the left...".

The gentleman's jacket is scarlet -

now a "reference" for the "Limehouse class" of London-painted Chinese porcelains.

 In the lot notes, Watney suggests another interesting dimension to this type of decoration :

 the likelihood of the painting on white (English) Limehouse porcelain actually being executed in Holland,

and the Dutch painters then settling in London, where they continued to paint Chinese porcelains.

This same sauceboat is illustrated in European Decoration on Oriental Porcelain, Espir, p. 223,

with additional dating to this type of scene :

"This scene appears to derive from the Meissen harbour scenes of the 1720-30s that were developed 

on Chinese export wares in the1730-40s and had become stylized on England by 1746.
















Also See :


London Decorated Chinese Porcelain

(a short article)





London Decorated Chinese Kangxi Teapot and Cover






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London Decorated Chinese Teapot & Cover, Limehouse Class, Yongzheng / Qianlong