This brush-pot reflects a predilection at the Imperial court for 'Occidental' subject matters: Westerners garbed in European clothing grouped around a four-wheeled horse-drawn carriage. It seems very likely that a printed source from the West was the inspiration for this painting; the detail is exceptionally fine and a narrative scene of European figures on a brush-pot, a quintessential item for Chinese scholar's desk, bearing an Imperial reign mark is unknown apart from this example.
Compare the painting style and choice of enamels with a vase decorated with a procession of tribute bearers among similar trees in the National Palace Museum Collection, Taibei, included in the Special Exhibition of Ch'ing Dynasty Enamelled Porcelains of the Imperial Ateliers, 1992, illustrated in the Catalogue, p. 275, no. 141. The National Palace Museum vase is also gilded around the mouth and footrim, and has a Qianlong blue enamel four-character mark in seal script on the base which is very similar to the present example. Another vase with an identical mark was included in the same exhibition, painted with a scene of children at play in a garden setting, ibid, p. 280, no. 146.