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Partial dinner service

Place Made:
Jingdezhen and Guangzhou China
Date Made:
DIA: 7 3/4
Accession Number:
DESCRIPTION: One of eleven pieces of porcelain, each piece decorated in reddish brown with a border of an outer rim of diaper designs enclosing four butterflies and flowers between an inner rim of small conventional designs. The center of the pieces are decorated with four clusters of flowers and symbols with a crest at the center, the crest being a shield, with three hawks and a moon, over which stands an Indian bust with bow and arrows on shoulder and feathers in hair, above inscription in scroll at base.

Custom-decorated Chinese export dinner services like this were made from porcelain blanks produced in inland China at Jingdezhen and shipped to Guangzhou, formerly known as Canton, the center of the export trade, where the most fashionable and marketable western designs were added by specialized Chinese tradesmen.

HISTORY: These pieces were made to order for the Manigault family and shipped directly to America from China. They are part of a set of nearly 300 pieces. Correspondence with descendants of the Manigault family, who still own parts of the original set with the shield crest, reveal that Charles Izard Manigault (1795-1874) of Charleston was in China from December 15, 1817 to December 19, 1821, and ordered the china at that time. A second set (MESDA Acc. No. 2294.1-3) was ordered later for his brother, Gabriel Henry Manigault (1788-1834).

DESIGN: The name Fitzhugh is commonly given to similar patterns with the butterfly motif on the rim. Fitzhugh was a merchant family in England who traded in Canton starting in 1703 and continuing through the eighteenth century. The name is more frequently used in America than England. Fitzhugh family accounts show a large trade in “Chinaware” and the boxes in which it was shipped were marked “T. FITZHUGH.”

CREST: The crest is that of the Manigault family. The Indian on the crest design is supposed to represent an American Indian. The bookplate, however, was designed and engraved by Samuel Clayton, an Englishman in Australia, and the figure more closely resembles an Australian aborigine.

Credit Line:
Purchase Fund