A Pair of Armorial Dishes with Arms of De Famars and Vriesen

Qianlong Period, Circa 1752

Reference#: P4780

Diameter: 12 ½ inches (31.75 cm.)

Chinese Porcelain Company 1995(A), number 28, page 38 (plate).
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, noted in LeCorbeiller 1974, footnote 11, page 83.
Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, illustrated in Jörg 1997, number 364, page 309 (soup plate).

Each plate decorated in polychrome enamels and gilt. Painted in the center with the coat of arms of De Famars of Amsterdam, enclosed by a gilt spearhead band and a black T-motif border on a gilt ground.

With the publication of Jörg’s recent book on the Chinese ceramics in the Rijksmuseum, the arms of this service have now been properly identified and dated. According to Jörg, the arms are those of De Famars of Amsterdam and the Vriesen family of Zwolle.1 The service of which the present pieces were a part was probably made for the occasion of the marriage of Johan Wilhelm de Famars and Mechted Johanna Geertruid Vriesen in 1752. The couple lived in Nijmegen, and Johan Wilhelm is mentioned there as Major-General and military commander in 1762 and as Lieutenant General of the cavalry in 1767. He is known to have served in both positions until his death in 1798.

The decoration of this service displays an interesting juxtaposition of decorative styles. The central arms, topped by a gilt coronet, are enclosed by rococo-style crescents whereas the stiff lappet border is more neoclassical. This border is only known on one other export service, that bearing the Arms of Frederick the Great of Prussia.2 The origins of the Frederick II order have long been a mystery; the date and details of the order are still unknown. The firm dating of the De Famars service, however, with the identical border, can now help to more closely date the Frederick II service.

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