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Plate: C.91-1950

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Object information

Current Location: Gallery 26 (Lower Marlay)


Factory: Chelsea Porcelain Manufactory




Soft-paste porcelain plate, decorated with botanical flowers and insects in polychrome onglaze enamels.

Soft-paste porcelain, moulded, glazed, and painted in pale blue, green, yellowish-green, pale yellow, pale and dark purple, dark reddish-brown, and black enamels. The glaze on the reverse has several black speckles, and there are three spur marks within the footring.The plate is circular with a wavy edge, wide rim, and deep well with curved sides, standing on a footring. Placed asymetrically on the viewer's left, are the leaves, an open flower, and buds of the Ketmia Indica (Indian Hemp) with a butterfly hovering above on the rim, and a smaller insect below. The edge is outlined in dark reddish borwn.


History note: Unknown before Mrs W.D. (Frances Louisa) Dickson

Legal notes

Given by Mrs Francis L. Dickson

Measurements and weight

Diameter: 24 cm
Height: 3.7 cm

Place(s) associated

  • Chelsea ⪼ Middlesex ⪼ England

Acquisition and important dates

Method of acquisition: Given (1950-09) by Dickson, W. D. (Frances Louisa), Mrs


18th Century, Mid
George II
Red anchor period (1752-1756)
Circa 1752 CE - 1756 CE


Chelsea tableware with botanical designs were described as being decorated with 'India Plants' referring to the West Indies, rather than as was more usual Oriental Indies, although many of the plants featured did not come from those islands. For example, on the second day of the 1755 Sale Catalogue, lot 36 comprised 'Twelve very fine desart plates, India plants, all different'. The designs were based on plants which appeared in several illustrated botanical books. The design on this plate was derived from Georg Dionysius Ehret (1708-70), 'Plantae et Papiliones Rariores', 1748-62, pl. VI, where the Ketmia or Indian Hemp flowers and foliage are depicted with Iris and Alsine, and a smaller illustration shows the whole plant in a pot. The plant is described below as 'Ketmia Indica foliis digitatis flore magna sulphureo, umbone altro purpureo, pediculis foliorum spinosis. Three drawings by Ehret of Ketmia Indica are dated 1742.

School or Style


Components of the work

Decoration composed of enamels ( pale blue, green, yellowish-green, pale yellow, pale and dark purple, dark reddish-brown, and black enamels)

Materials used in production

possibly containing tin-oxide Glaze
Soft-paste porcelain

Techniques used in production

Moulding : Soft-paste porcelain, moulded, glazed,
Glazing (coating)

Inscription or legends present

Inscription present: an anchor over 4

  • Text: an anchor/4
  • Location: On the base
  • Method of creation: Painted in red enamel
  • Type: Factory mark

Inscription present: rectangular white paper label with the inscription written between two black printed horizontal lines

  • Text: Hybiscus
  • Location: On base
  • Method of creation: Hand-written in pencil
  • Type: Label

Inscription present: very small rectangular white paper stick-on label

  • Text: 1930/4
  • Location: On base near footring
  • Method of creation: Hand-written in black ink
  • Type: Label

References and bibliographic entries

Related exhibitions

Identification numbers

Accession number: C.91-1950
Primary reference Number: 131404
Stable URI

Audit data

Created: Saturday 6 August 2011 Updated: Friday 21 April 2023 Last processed: Friday 8 December 2023

Associated departments & institutions

Owner or interested party: The Fitzwilliam Museum
Associated department: Applied Arts

Citation for print

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The Fitzwilliam Museum (2024) "Plate" Web page available at: Accessed: 2024-04-19 14:25:03

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