A LARGE FIVE PIECE BLUE AND WHITE GARNITURE

Reference#: P1874

Kangxi period (1662-1722)

Height of jars and covers: 24 ¼ inches ( 61.6 cm.)
Height of beakers: 20 ¼ inches (51.4 cm.)

Comprising three baluster jars and covers with Buddhistic lion form knops and two beaker vases, decorated in underglaze blue. Each piece painted with registers of alternating panels of ladies at leisure or flowers.
both beakers with sections to rim restored, one repaired at luting joint; one jar with V-section to neck and shoulders restored; one cover with large chip filled at rim; chips as seen

This five-piece blue and white garniture set is illustrative of the type of pieces that were highly fashionable in Dutch and English interiors at the end of the seventeenth century. Inspired by the designs of Daniel Marot, the Dutch collected porcelains in mass quantity as the vast amount imported by the VOC made them readily available. Marot’s furniture designs are known for their highly sculptural quality and his architectural scheme transformed entire rooms with the same effect. Elaborate chimney pieces that incorporated elegant cornices and rows of brackets served to prominently display the porcelains imported from China. Vases, bowls and garniture sets were also placed atop mantelpieces and cupboards. The unified ornamentation of the architecture, combined with the opulence of the porcelains, gave a complete Marot interior an overall substantive quality that seemingly overflowed with decorative forms. Marot was not only a favorite of William and Mary, but also of the highly influential merchant class, who favored the opportunity to show their worth with huge displays of porcelain. Interior design thus took on a significant role as a symbol of taste, style and wealth.
Among Marot’s innovative interiors was a small room appropriately called the porcelain cabinet. Every inch of wall space in the room was covered with brackets that supported a plethora of porcelain vases, cups and saucers and jars, as well as seventeenth century blanc-de-chine figures. Each corner was also fitted with a gilt wood etagere on which further porcelains could be placed for display.1 Towards the end of the seventeenth century the porcelain cupboard was introduced to the Netherlands. In its original form, a rectangular cabinet with glass-paned doors and sides sat atop a chest of drawers or table. As its size and importance grew, the cabinet evolved to a cupboard supported by four legs stabilized by a finely carved stretcher and four bun feet. The cupboards were filled with Chinese porcelain and Delftware, and according to Jörg, they also had a great effect on the popularity of blue and white garnitures (or kastels).2 Flat-topped or surmounted by strongly curved cornices, these cabinets provided the space to display impressive sets of porcelains. The Chinese are known to have decorated house and temple altars with matching vases, but the garniture set is uniquely Dutch.3 The size of the vases displayed was proportionate to the size of the cabinet and garniture sets of such significant size as ours would have graced the top of a large cupboard or a great commode.

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