An unusual pair of Chinese famille rose Pronk “Arbor” octogonal salt cellars. Qianlong period

Of octogonal form, decorated after the Dutch artist Cornelis Pronk’s design with the classic topiary garden scene, the border with cartouches of moths, butterflies, flowers and fruits.

Period :
Qianlong period (1736-1795), circa 1738/1740
2.95 in. / 2.36 in. / 1.57 in. (7.5 cm / 6 cm / 4 cm)
Reference :

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A pair of Chinese famille rose Pronk “Arbor” salt cellars are in the collection of the Dallas Museum of Art (The Wendy and Emery Reves Collection (1985.R.886.1).

Dr. Christiaan J. A. Jörg, Pronk Porselein, porcelain after designs by Cornelis Pronk, Groningen, Netherlands: Groninger Museum, 1980, pp. 34/37 and pp. 80/81.


According to Christiaan Jörg, the decoration on this pieces corresponds to the fourth and last of Cornelis Pronk’s designs for the Dutch East India Company, The Arbour, finished in 1737, sent to Batavia en 1738, and received in Guangzhou in 1739. Chinese potters made six dinner services comprising 371 pieces, and eighteen tea sets using this design, painted both in underglaze blue and polychrome enamels and sent to Holland in 1740.

The insects are taken from a Maria Sybilla Merian’s Eruvarum Ortus, published in full in 1718, and in an enlarged Dutch edition, European Insects, 1730.

The arbour in this design is a topiary version of an architectural garden arch, a decidedly western form. In 1730, Pronk executed a watercolor of such a structure, which he based on the Cholon pavilion in the park that surrounds Bosh en Hove, an estate near Haarlem.

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