A pair of Chinese Export famille-rose figures of phoenix, porcelain, produced in China (Qianlong), c.1735-1796 (Accession No. 48053)
In Chinese mythology the phoenix represents female authority, benevolence and beauty and is particularly associated with the Empress of China. This pair of figures has been dated to the rule of Emperor Qianlong, an avid art collector, who was one of China’s longest-reigning rulers. The distinctive famille-rose finish refers to the dominant pink and red tones of the overglaze on the porcelain, which as well as being decorative helped to protect the delicate porcelain underneath.
Lady Baillie acquired these objects in October 1970, towards the end of her life when ‘birds became even more her consuming passion and interest’ according to her land agent, John Money. The multi-coloured exotic birds perched on rocks are on display in the Thorpe Hall Drawing Room, where they complement other objects of Chinese origin from Lady Baillie’s collection.
Each week we will be highlighting our ‘Objects in Spotlight’ within the Castle as part of the Festival of Craft & Design.