REF No. 6696
Pair of Chinese export porcelain armorial saucer dishes, Portuguese arms of Ataide
Kangxi/Yongzheng period circa 1720-5
Portuguese or Italian Market
Diameter: 10½ inches; 26.5cm
A rare pair of Chinese armorial porcelain saucer dishes brightly decorated in verte imari enamels with a coat of arms surrounded by elaborate decoration in the ‘grotesque’ style, the rims with bulls’ heads.
The arms are disputed, either for the Portuguese family Ataide or the Italian family of Marini. The coat is very simple and thus fits with numerous families, the crest is also a popular one. The consensus today seems to be that this was made for D. Luis Peregrino de Ataide (1700-55), 10th Count of Atouguia, Counsel to the Portuguese King John V, who was married in 1720 to Clara de Assis Mascarenhas, daughter of Fernando Mascarenhas, Count of Óbidos. A number of services with these arms are recorded with variations of the surrounding decoration but all of similar taste. One service appears to have the initials LA.
However Howard & Ayers 1978, illustrate a book plate, circa 1750, belonging to Pietro Marini of Barnabita that is very similar to this: in the shape of the shield, the number of bars and the crest and crown. They also mention that the Marini family controlled a large fleet of merchant ships at this date.
This type of decoration, including the winged sphinxes and the tented drapery is inspired by the designs of Jean Berain (1640-1711) and was very popular in the early eighteenth century, especially evident in the designs for the Beauvais tapestry factory by Jean-Baptiste Monnoyer (1636-1699).
References: Pinto de Matos 2011, p53, No 421, a plate the same as this, and examples of other Ataide services; Harrison-Hall and Krahl 1994: cat 16, tureen in the BM, (Franks.734.a); Scheurleer 1966, pl. 99; de Castro, 1993 p70; Howard & Ayers 1978, Vol II, p450, Nos 457 and 457a (this design) and illustration of arms of Marini and discussion of the heraldry; Castro 1987, p55; Pinto de Matos et al 1998, p214, No 43; other examples are in the Fundação Oriente, Lisbon; Museu Nacional de Arte Antiga, Lisbon; Museum het Princesshof, Leeuwarden.