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    Sale 2761

    Asian Art

    20 - 21 November 2007, Amsterdam

  • Lot 236

    An important and rare famille rose 'pronk doctor's visit' cistern, cover and oval basin

    CIRCA 1738

    Price Realised  


    An important and rare famille rose 'pronk doctor's visit' cistern, cover and oval basin
    Circa 1738
    After a design by the Dutch draughtsman Cornelis Pronk, the cistern of baluster shape, painted on either side with three figures seated around a low table bearing a blue and white dish, wearing blue, pink and yellow robes, the central figure apparently holding a fish, and a fourth figure with a bald head wearing a simple brown robe standing behind them pointing at an exotic bird perched on a flowering branch and squawking at a peacock perched on a lattice fence, all above a stripy snake slithering through long grasses between two storks on a terrace, the snake fitted to one side at the front with a bronze spigot, the flared foot with a band of pale blue trellis pattern reserved with cloud scrolls beneath a narrow band of blue lappets, all below gilt flower-head diaper-pattern lappets and a row of six bordered cartouches containing two exotic fish divided by waterfowl, the cover surmounted by a blue double knop finial and decorated allover in green cell-pattern reserved with white scrolls issuing from the finial, the rim with quatrefoil cartouches on a royal-blue ground; and a large oval basin similarly painted to both sides with the 'Doctor's Visit', the bulbous body with a slim shoulder below a wide flaring rim and supported on a spreading foot, the interior enamelled at the centre with an oval medallion enclosing three overlapping fish, the rim with six similar fish cartouches divided by stork and geese among reeds

    the cistern and cover 51.5 cm. high, the basin 47.3 cm. wide (2)

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    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

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    Pre-Lot Text