As with lot 662, the main male figure is known as Governor Duff, the nickname for the Diederik Duiver, Governor of the Dutch East India Company. However, since he only took up office in 1729 (until 1731), and similar groups have been found on the bills of lading of ships of the East India Companies form the beginning of the 18th Century, this attribution is now doubted. In addition, three such groups are described in detail in the 1721 inventory of the Collection of Augustus the Strong in Dresden. See P.J. Donnely, Blanc de Chine, p. 191, pl.117A, D. Howard and J. Ayers, China for the West, p. 94, fig. 55 for discussions on these groups, their attributions, dating and variations.
White porcelain figures from Dehua in Fujian Province were the first Chinese figure models to arrive in quantity in Europe, since they were standard productions depicting Buddhist deities, Daoist Immortals and secular Chinese figures, along with the special commissions for the Western market such as the above group. They were extremely popular, since they most were elgantly potted and 'light' in appearance; a welcome contrast with the heavy interiors of many contemporaneous European interiors, which explains the presence of a wide variety of small 'blanc-de-chine' figures, particularly in the small 'closets' attached to many ladies' private withdrawing rooms where the white porcelain often stood out brightly against lacquered and mirror-backed shelving. As with early blue and white 'kraak' exports to Holland, it is unclear whether availability created the taste, or vice versa.