The porcelain Chinese or perhaps Japanese, 1700-1720
The decoration, The Netherlands circa 1724
Diam. 12.2 cm
Height 6.3 cm


Finely decorated on the exterior with a continuous scene of a red-coated shepherd playing a pipe with goats in a landscape with a further figure at a fountain beside a ruined castle or church. The interior with a detail of the scene within a double red circle with a border of bouquets of flowers and insects in flight.

Held in a glancing light the ghost impressions of simple flower heads are visible on the surface of the porcelain. The spare original decoration on the bowl has been removed by careful abrasion to provide the blank canvass that the painter required. The porcelain is certainly East Asian but it is difficult to be sure if it is Chinese or Japanese.

The work of this anonymous Dutch artist was first discussed in a paper that I wrote entitled ‘Dutch ‘Fine-Line’ and German Schwarzlot Decoration’ published in the Transactions of the Oriental Ceramic Society, vol. 65, 2000-2001, p. 135-142, to coincide with the exhibition held at the British Museum on the subject of Oriental porcelain decorated in Europe.

The anonymous ‘Fine-Line’ painter is by far the most accomplished decorator of porcelain working in The Netherlands with a uniquely inventive and draughtsman-like style.

Examples of the work of this rare artist can be found in various Dutch museums and a notable group in the Porzellansammlung in the Zwinger in Dresden where they have been from the early 18th century.

Ewer with the Arms of William Butler and Maria Leeser
Ex. Bernard Watney Collection

We are able show that this small group was decorated in Holland around 1724 because of a Dehua ewer decorated by the same hand for the marriage in that year of William Butler and Maria Leeser in Amsterdam.[1]

Soame Jenyns Collection
Sotheby’s, London, 8 November 2018, lot 33 (part)


Manners 2000
Errol Manners,Dutch ‘Fine-Line’ and German Schwarzlot Decoration’, Transactions of the Oriental Ceramic Society, vol. 65, 2000-2001, pp. 135 – 142

E & H Manners, ‘Decorators of Ceramics and Glass, 2024, no. 48

No damage or restoration


[1] Manners 2001, p. 139, fig 3. This paper is available on our website. For a further discussion see Espir 2005, pp. 115-127.


Price: £7,500