Commissioned in 1735, 'The Doctor's Visit to the Emperor' is the second design drawn by Cornelis Pronk for the Dutch East India Company, the first being 'La Dame au Parasol' in 1734. Due to the expense of transferring the subject onto porcelain, the volume of Pronk's work is small and only two orders of this design were believed to have been placed: the first was carried to the Netherlands on the Hogersmilde at the end of 1738, followed by the second order in the next year. A simplified version of the design, which excludes the standing man, was sent to Canton in 1739. The famille rose palette was primarily used for this design although designs were also executed in blue and white. See C.J.A. Jörg, Pronk Porcelain, 1980, pp.26-31 for a discussion on this design.
It is very rare to have the complete set of a cistern and basin together. One example, but with Pronk's design 'The Archer' is in the Rijksmuseum, illustrated by Christian J. A. Jörg, Chinese Ceramics in the Collection of the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, 1997, nos. 331 and 332, where the author notes that "Basins of this shape were used in conjunction with an urn for hand-washing or to cool wine"; and Lunsingh Scheurleer, Chine de Commande, 1974, no. 122.
A blue and white basin with the design of the 'Doctor's Visit' was sold in our London Rooms, 15 June 1999, lot 211