Thursday, October 10, 2013

323. Thomas Jefferson and Chinese Porcelain

The process that Thomas Jefferson transported Chinese porcelain from Europe to North America served as an indicator of demonstrating the value of the Chinese porcelain ware. Interestingly enough, in order to protect Chinese porcelain ware from being broken in the process of transportation, Jefferson bought creamware made by English potters.

Jefferson clearly stated out that the purchase was to protect the Chinese porcelain ware from harm. Then he put them outside of the Chinese porcelain ware as protective layer. Jefferson's action led to the conclusion from an author that the role of English creamware was changing and its "aesthetic and qualitative value was waning."

Later, in 1789, Jefferson ordered more Chinese porcelain from Edward Dowse, a Boston merchant engaging in Chinese trade. In April 1790, Dowse sent the porcelain ordered by Jefferson to New York where Jefferson was serving as the first secretary of state. In the interim, the porcelain wares he ordered in France arrived, including 120 porcelain plates, 58 cups, 39 saucers, 4 tureens, saltcellars, and various platters. He used these in New York and Philadelphia, and what remained was eventually shipped to Monticello. In 1793, Jefferson had all his Chinese porcelain transported to Monticello. With this link you can find more information on Jefferson's Chinese porcelain ware.Thomas Jefferson circa 1790’s China Acquired by The Raleigh De Geer Amyx Collection.

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